Tag: Maricopa County

Sharpton in Arizona Evokes Civil Rights Struggle in Fight for Immigration Reform

Activists plan “freedom rides” to monitor alleged civil rights abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office

PHOENIX, Arizona — In a visit that drew heavily on the tactics and symbolism of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Rev. Al Sharpton came to Phoenix on Friday to call for unity between African-Americans and Hispanics in a national effort for immigration reform, and to confront Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a leading anti-immigrant crusader.

Watch highlights from Sharpton’s visit to Arizona.

In an emotional speech, Sharpton denounced the alleged persecution of Latino citizens and the raids in Hispanic neighborhoods organized by Sheriff Arpaio under the the 287 (g) federal program, which allows local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.

“Let me make this clear, we’re not here about Sheriff Joe as much as we are here about Citizen Jose,” said Sharpton at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in downtown Phoenix, in front of a diverse audience that included Latinos, Anglos and African-Americans. Sharpton had called for Arpaio’s resignation last April.

Sharpton: "Don’t make me a suspect because of the color of my skin or because of my language” - Photo: Feet in 2 Worlds

Sharpton: "Don’t make me a suspect because of the color of my skin or because of my language.” (Photo: Feet in 2 Worlds)

“You cannot have law enforcement that is based on skin color rather than private deeds,” he added. “If we break the law, arrest me. But don’t make me a suspect because of the color of my skin or because of my language.”


In Arizona, Immigrants Stage Hunger Strike to Protest Conditions in County Jails


A candlelight vigil outside the Sandra Day O’ Connor Federal Courthouse in Phoenix on Wednesday in support of prisoners on a hunger strike in Maricopa County jails. Photo: www.josemunozphotos.com

PHOENIX, Arizona – A movement to protest alleged mistreatment of immigrants being held in Maricopa County jails gathered momentum this week as jail detainees initiated a series of hunger strikes, and protests were held in various parts of the county.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) confirmed several instances of inmates refusing food over the past week.

“We’re surprised, we never expected this. But we’re supporting them,” said activist Salvador Reza, an organizer from the pro-immigrant movement PUENTE. His group held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night with relatives of inmates.

The county jail system, administered by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, houses about 9-thousand inmates. On average, undocumented immigrants make up 20 percent of the prison population.

Last Saturday PUENTE led a 6 mile-march to the Durango jail complex to denounce alleged abuse of immigrant women in the county jails. Sheriff Arpaio was the first to report that 43 women in the Estrella Jail had gone on a hunger strike to support the protesters. Citing security reasons, Arpaio had ordered all prisoners to be placed in lock-down during the march.

On Tuesday, May 5th Spanish-language TV station Univision 33 reported on another strike in the Durango jail through an interview with family members of inmates. MCSO confirmed to Feet in Two Worlds that 900 inmates refused their evening meal that same day. Arpaio said Wednesday that the strike was over. But later on Wednesday evening his office reported that 245 inmates had again refused dinner. (more…)

Sheriff Arpaio Gets His Own TV Show And An Online Revolt Ensues

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Sheriff Joe Arpaio in his new reality show.

Arpaio, coming soon, on the Fox Reality Channel.

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has become famous for his made-for-TV antics, like forcing inmates to use pink underwear, and his immigration enforcement fervor, which has drawn heavy criticism from civil rights advocates. Now, he’s getting his own FOX reality show and pro-immigrant organizations are not happy.

In response to the FOX Reality Channel’s announced launch of Smile, You’re Under Arrest!, America’s Voice is gathering support for a petition which asks the Department of Justice to investigate Arpaio “for gross civil rights violations in the name of immigration enforcement.”

Arpaio is a controversial figure in his home of Maricopa County (which encompasses Phoenix) and way beyond.