Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reign of terror in the Latino community continues. Thursday’s arrest of 11 people at America’s Taco Shop restaurants across the valley on “suspicion of using false identities to get jobs” (Arizona Republic, March 15, 2013) raises two obvious questions:
Why aren’t the business owners or managers ever arrested in these raids?
Why given all of the other crimes—murder, rape, child molestation, burglary, assaults, etc.—the Sheriff could be focusing his attention on is he so fixated on arresting undocumented immigrants.
The Arizona Republic reports this is the 72nd time Arpaio’s deputies have conducted this sort of “workplace identity theft operation” since 2008. Should identify theft be against the law? Yes. Would I rather the Sheriff’s Office spent its time trying to address other crimes, such as the 400-plus child molestation cases it neglected to properly investigate, instead of rounding up people (the overwhelming majority of whom in Arizona are Mexican immigrants) whose day-to-day existence is basically taken up doing the crap work most Americans don’t want to do? Yes.
“Mr. Garcia, are you implying that Sheriff Arpaio is a racist?” No. I don’t exactly know what motivates Joe Arpaio. Ego? Politics? Bigotry? A mish-mash of all of the above? But what I do know is that Arpaio could care less that his actions are destroying the lives of countless innocents. I also know that the U.S. Justice Department in its pending lawsuit against him has accused Arpaio and his deputies of engaging in a ‘pattern of unlawful discrimination”’ that “Latinos at the county jail were often referred to as ‘stupid’ or addressed with an ‘ethnic slur’; that “Latino drivers [in Maricopa County] were five to nine times more likely than their non-Latino counterparts to be stopped or searched”; and that “some [Latinos] were detained because they were said to have looked nervous or avoided eye contact”. And the list goes on.
And the terror goes on.
It is time for the terror and Sheriff Arpaio’s abuse of power to end. It is time Maricopa County has a sheriff who wakes up in the morning committed to “serve and protect” the community, the entire community, rather than to serve and protect his own narrow interests and corrupt base of power.
It is time to recall Sheriff Arpaio. If you agree, go to this website: www.recallarpaio.com/petition/ and fill out the petition to recall Sheriff Arpaio.
In case your wondering, I have absolutely no affiliation with Respect Arizona and its Recall Arpaio campaign. I just want Arpaio to stop destroying immigrant families who mean us no harm.
And is it too much to ask that our county’s top law enforcement officer spend his time fighting crime and protecting all Maricopa County families instead of parading around on the 24-hour news channels with the likes of tough-guy actor Steven Seagal (who, tellingly, also happens to be a favorite of Russian President Vladimir Putin) or holding press conferences declaring, yet again, without any evidence at all, that President Obama is an illegal alien?
Sign the petition. Recall Arpaio. Let’s restore integrity to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Bio: James E. Garcia is a playwright, journalist, university lecturer, and Phoenix-based media communications consultant. As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, magazine and newspaper editor, foreign correspondent, and television, radio and online commentator. He is the owner of Creative Vistas Media, co-founder of The Real Arizona Coalition (therealarizona.org), immediate past chair of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, and the author of more than 20 plays.
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