Ian Stuart Donaldson Skrewdriver

Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Ben Shapiro Demolishes Ivy League Professor on Ethnic Studies

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Since a federal judge has upheld most of an Arizona law banning ethnic studies, Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly did a segment featuring Breitbart News’ Ben Shapiro and Camille Charles, a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.


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Calif., Ariz. Border Towns Have Nation’s Highest Unemployment: Over 28%

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The metropolitan areas of Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., have the two highest unemployment rates in the country, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the El Centro metropolitan area, the unemployment rate for October was 28.1 percent, said BLS. In the Yuma metropolitan area, it was 29.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate in October was 7.9 percent.

The most conspicuous factor the El Centro and Yuma metropolitan areas have in common is geography. El Centro is in Imperial County, Calif., and Yuma is in Yuma County, Ariz. Imperial and Yuma counties are contiguous to one another and to the Mexican border.

After Yuma and El Centro, the Merced, Calif., metropolitan area had the third highest unemployment rate in October. Unemployment was 14.7 percent there.


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Mass. governor vetoes bill aimed at illegal immigrant drivers

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Governor Deval Patrick on Friday vetoed a bill designed to keep illegal immigrants from registering motor vehicles in Massachusetts. The bill Patrick vetoed would have required the Registry of Motor Vehicles to obtain “proof of legal residence” from anyone registering a car in Massachusetts. Lawmakers pushed the measure in response to the outcry following several fatal auto accidents caused by drivers who were in the country illegally.

In his veto message, Patrick argued that the measure would force the Registry to “identify and police undocumented people,” even though he said that is the duty of the federal government, not states. The governor argued that the measure would force the Registry to ‘identify and police undocumented people.’

The recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down parts of Arizona’s tough immigration law “underscores the importance of states treading lightly in the enforcement of federal immigration rules,” the governor wrote. Patrick also argued that it is hard to understand how a “nonresident” simply owning a vehicle in Massachusetts jeopardizes public safety. Indeed, he said it would improve public safety if the Registry keeps a record of every car, regardless of the owner’s residency status.

Lawmakers could override Patrick’s veto but they would have to act quickly because formal sessions end on Tuesday. Senator Richard T. Moore, an Uxbridge Democrat who supports the bill, said he was disappointed but not surprised that Patrick rejected it. The governor has been an outspoken critic of efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants.

Moore said he hopes legislators commit to an override vote.

“The public deserves the protection of knowing that people who are on the roads are on the roads legally,” he said. “It’s clearly a public safety issue, and that’s why the Legislature supported it.”

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Arizona sheriff says ‘dirty’ immigrant remark was taken wrong

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

An Arizona sheriff who’s known for his hardline stance on illegal immigration has been on the witness stand today in Phoenix, defending against allegations that his immigration sweeps amounted to racial profiling against Hispanics.

Joe Arpaio (ahr-PEYE’-oh) was asked today about a statement in which he called illegal immigrants “dirty.” He replied that anyone who crosses the border on foot over four days in the desert “could be dirty.”

He also said, “We don’t arrest people because of the color of their skin.”

Arpaio was testifying on his own behalf in a civil trial. A group of Latinos who say they have been discriminated against filed the lawsuit. They are seeking a declaration that Arpaio’s office racially profiles Latinos, and they want an order requiring policy changes.

Arpaio testified without his usual bluster. He said he has the flu, and he’s speaking in a more hushed tone than normal.

During the sweeps that are at the center of the case, sheriff’s deputies flood an area of a city over several days to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders. The sheriff’s office says illegal immigrants accounted for 57 percent of the 1,500 people arrested in the sweeps since 2008.

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio Ethnic Discrimination Case Goes to Court

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio is scheduled to face trail Thursday over allegations that he systematically discriminated against Latinos and illegally usurped federal authority during years of sweeps aimed at rounding up undocumented immigrants.

The lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio, alleges that Arpaio’s office and his volunteer posses target people who look Latino to check their immigration status, and stop Latinos more frequently and for longer durations than non-Latinos.

The suit against Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and the county government, first filed in 2007, also says Arpaio routinely stopped Latinos simply to check their immigration status and detain undocumented immigrants, which only federal agents have the authority to do.

One of the people bringing the case, Manuel de Jesús Ortega Melendres, says he was stopped by police while riding in a car driven by a non-Hispanic white man. Though stopped because of a speeding violation, the police officers asked to see Ortega Melendres’ identification.

Ortega Melendres says he handed over his U.S. visa, Mexican voter registration card—both of which are photo IDs—and a copy of his permit from the Department of Homeland Security. Nevertheless, the police asked him to leave the car, patted him down, handcuffed him and detained him for hours, Ortega Melendres says.

“Because of Mr. Ortega’s experience with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s officers, he is now afraid,” the complaint says. “Mr. Ortega is afraid that he will be thrown in jail without any explanation, without any rights, and without any opportunity to get help even though the federal government of the United States has issued a visa to him that gives him permission to be here.”

Arpaio, the country’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff, denies his office discriminates against Latinos.

“This office aggressively enforces all local, state and federal laws in order to combat the growing illegal immigration epidemic in Maricopa County,” Arpaio’s office says in a statement on its website. “Deputy sheriffs are specifically trained to identify indicators that a person or persons might be in this country illegally without violating their constitutional rights.”

A spokesman for Arpaio declined to comment on the case, citing the advice of Arpaio’s attorneys.

A study commissioned by the Justice Department and released in December found that Latinos are four to nine times more likely to be stopped by police on Maricopa County roads than non-Latinos.

The courts have given class-action status to all Latinos in the country who have been stopped or could have been stopped by police since the suit was filed in 2007.

The class action suit is expected to run until Aug. 2, according to Allessandra Soler of the Arizona ACLU. It’s not clear whether the courts will return a verdict in the politically charged case before the November elections.

Arpaio has gained national notoriety for his zeal in enforcing immigration law, even as the federal government has sought to prioritize deportation of serious criminals and those who repeatedly enter the country illegally.

The Maricopa County sheriff is also known for his unorthodox policies, including making inmates wear pink underwear and housing prisoners in tents to save money. Though Maricopa County’s so-called “Tent City” has drawn criticism, Arpaio contends that the U.S. military lives in tents in combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, so prisoners should be able to as well.

Thursday’s lawsuit isn’t the only one Arpaio faces over alleged ethnic discrimination.

The Justice Department is also suing Arpaio, alleging that he subjected Latinos to discriminatory and unconstitutional stops, detentions and harassment based on their appearance or national origin.

The state of Arizona became a national flashpoint for the politically charged immigration issue in 2010, with the passing of SB 1070—a law that is not involved in Thursday’s trial, but addresses similar issues.

SB 1070, among other provisions, mandated state police to check the immigration status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally. The Supreme Court struck down three contested portions of SB 1070 in June after the Obama administration challenged it, but upheld the so-called “show me your papers” provision.

A group of civil rights organizations, including the ACLU and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, asked a court to block the SB 1070 provision on Tuesday, arguing that it would lead to a pattern of racial discrimination against Latinos and result in more frequent and longer detentions of Latinos if enacted.

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2,359 illegals, 10 bosses nabbed by dept this year

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

A total of 2,359 illegal immigrants have been detained by the State Immigration Department in 660 operations beginning this year, according to its director Haji Mohammad Mentek.

“From the total, 1,263 people have been charged in court for numerous offences, 647 people were deported, 74 were compounded, 31 people were given warning and 310 were released, while the rest are still being detained at the temporary detention centers for further investigation,” he told a press conference after the department’s monthly gathering at its office in Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal One.

Mohammad said 10 local employers have also been detained, and six of them are currently waiting for trial for hiring foreign workers without valid permits.

“The Immigration Department will continue to carry out such operation from time to time to flush out illegal immigrants in the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohammada said 36 illegal immigrants, including 10 children and a baby, were detained by the department in a raid on a construction site in Likas early yesterday.

The rest, 17 men and eight women, detained in the two-hour operation, which began at 1am, failed to produce any valid travel documents, he said.

They were among 65 people who were screened during the raid that was carried out by 38 enforcement personnel after a public tip-off, he said.

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Immigration backlog at record high

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Government officials have adopted a series of recommendations to streamline federal immigration courts, where a record-high number of backlogged cases has brought the “fairness and effectiveness” of the courts into question.

Changes proposed by the Administrative Conference of the United States are aimed at easing the more than 300,000 pending cases in the courts, where it can take an average of 519 days from introduction to a judge’s decision.

Arizona has more than 13,000 pending cases.

“That’s almost a year and a half when you’re just waiting for your case to be heard,” said Funmi Olorunnipa, an attorney adviser at the conference, an independent federal agency that provides nonpartisan legal advice and expertise to government agencies.

The conference worked with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security for more than a year, looking for ways to make immigration courts more “timely, efficient and fair.”

The recommendations ranged from finding more efficient ways for short-handed judges to use their time to doing a better job of informing detainees of their rights in court and letting judges sanction poorly performing attorneys — a power they do not now have.

“Judges sometimes feel like a school master without the ability to suspend or grade a student,” said Lenni Benson, a New York Law School professor and one of two outside consultants who worked on the report. “They see bad behavior and are powerless to do anything.”

The 37 recommendations were vetted by a selection of federal officials, administrative law experts and private-sector individuals at an ACUS meeting this month. After they are published in the Federal Register, Olorunnipa said, the conference will work with the affected agencies to implement them.

Most of the proposals were aimed at Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, which was created in 1983 to decide whether foreign-born individuals charged with violating immigration law, should be removed from the U.S. or permitted to stay here.

More than 59 immigration courts nationwide conduct “removal proceedings.” Suspected illegal immigrants who are ordered to appear are not provided with an attorney by the government, although they can seek one on their own.

Olorunnipa said that 85 percent of the people who appear before immigration judges do not have an attorney. Many cannot afford to pay for a lawyer or have trouble understanding the procedures because of a language barrier, she said.

“There are some pro bono groups and organizations who will work for free, but those resources are limited,” Olorunnipa said.

One major issue is a shortage of judges — one of six positions was vacant in March 2011, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

“What these courts do is really important and Congress has given them a tough mission,” Benson said. “We were looking for ways to achieve a lot with the resources they have.”

Benson said she and Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who helped with the report, spent more than a year surveying judges, advocates and government officials looking for ways to improve the process.

Besides recommending that judges be allowed to sanction lawyers, Benson and Wheeler recommended that judges no longer have to be there in person when someone files for asylum. Benson said that could save judges “days and days.”

The committee also said that EOIR should “enhance the number and value of know-your-rights presentations” for detained immigrants, saving judges time they would have to spend explaining rights during proceedings, Benson said.

The report said judges should be allowed to address attorneys’ “lack of preparation, lack of substantive or procedural knowledge or other conduct that impedes the courts operation” and require some to attend legal education classes.

Benson said some of the changes can take effect immediately while other could take years.

Olorunnipa expects the recommendations to have a “profound impact” on improving the process in immigration courts.

“All the officials involved are very interested in improving the process,” she said. “These are things they have been thinking about for a while.”

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Police step up immigration enforcement

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

State and local police across the country didn’t need the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding Arizona’s “show me your papers” immigration law to begin turning people over to the federal government for deportation.

Since late 2007, they have helped identify nearly 20 percent of the nation’s 1.6 million deportations — a trend that will likely accelerate.

The Obama administration plans to expand to every jurisdiction a program in which local police share fingerprints of those accused of breaking the law for federal officials to identify those they want to put into deportation proceedings.

The administration is making clear that federal authorities have always had — and will continue to have — the final say on who gets deported.

As debate has raged over the provision of the 2010 Arizona law, the federal government has been increasingly tapping the vastly superior presence of state and local police to identify illegal immigrants for deportation.

State and local police made about 150,000 arrests that resulted in deportation from late 2007 to late 2011 under a program that empowers specially trained local officers to enforce immigration laws. Deportations under that program peaked in 2009 but are falling sharply as the federal government phases it out.

In the fingerprinting program, state and local agencies are responsible for the vast majority of another roughly 150,000 deportations during that time. ICE scans prints of everyone booked into jails for non-immigration crimes and tells local police when they want someone held for deportation proceedings.

The combined efforts account for 288,997 of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportations from October 2007 through September 2011, or 18.7 percent of the total. And the number is growing each year.

In fiscal 2009, they accounted for 59,984 of 389,834, or only 15 percent, of deportations. In 2011, they were 105,849 of 396,906 deportations, or 27 percent.

A few police departments have crafted unique arrangements with the federal government that go even further. They include Escondido, a San Diego suburb of 140,000 people that has nine ICE employees at police headquarters.

Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher said they are targeting illegal immigrants who commit crimes. Those whose only offense is being in the country illegally won’t be bothered by his officers, nor will any crime victims or witnesses.

“If you’re not a criminal, you have nothing to fear,” he said.

For the federal government and many of its law enforcement allies, the numbers reflect a carefully orchestrated policy to deport anyone who breaks laws while living in the U.S. illegally, especially violent criminals.

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Nearly 1200 official Georgia agencies in violation of state illegal immigration law – here is a list

Friday, June 29th, 2012

from the state Department of Audits, is a list of the nearly 1200 official agencies in Georgia who are still ignoring state law on even reporting that they have or have not taken the required steps to protect jobs for Georgians. Scroll through to find the agency closest to you.

Believe it or not, the number of violators in government is coming down since Georgia’s first comprehensive illegal immigration laws was passed in 2006

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Supreme Court Decision on Arizona Will Divide Nation

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wasn’t merely skeptical; he appeared contemptuous of the U.S. Department of Justice‘s argument trying to stop Arizona’s cops from deporting undocumented Mexicans.

“But if, in fact, somebody who does not belong in this country is in Arizona, Arizona has no power?” asked the incredulous Scalia. “…Are you objecting to harassing the — the people who have no business being here? Surely you’re not concerned about harassing them?”

God forbid.

Scalia wasn’t the only judge to take a disparaging stance.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts concluded an observation by noting, “It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who’s here illegally or not.”

With these comments the United States Supreme Court signaled that its expected ruling this month will, in significant part, validate Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070.

If that happens, being brown will permit cops across America to ask: Which brown are you?

A journalist I work with, Monica Alonzo, grew up on the hardscrabble west side of Phoenix with brown skin.

Although she’s an American, something as simple as stopping to fill her gas tank could prompt a cruel refrain: “Go back to Mexico.”

She remembers the white school board members who voted themselves out of paying taxes to support the mostly Latino school in the town of El Mirage, Arizona. Her cousin was routinely pulled over if he ventured into a neighboring white community.

But these are memories, not complaints. This treatment did not stop Monica Alonzo. She made herself into an award-winning investigative reporter.

Today, she buys gas where she chooses.

She put the petty meanness behind her and made something of herself.

But SB 1070 changed everything.

In Arizona, brown people, citizen and immigrant, must now prove their papers are in order. We sic badges and dogs on people of color. Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s men wear ski masks and arm themselves with automatic weapons to stop Mexicans with cracked windshields. Families are separated, with parents deported and children left to fend for themselves. Those who remain are terrorized.

After one Arpaio sweep through the town of Guadalupe, children were too frightened to attend their Catholic confirmation ceremonies lest relatives be arrested.

Like the pre-Civil War era of free and slave states, America is about to divide along color lines. And this time around Missouri won’t be a “gray” state.

Missouri is one of sixteen states that have filed amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to support SB 1070. And while the Show-Me State has yet to establish an immigration bill similar to Arizona’s — as six other states have — it’s not for lack of trying. Missouri legislators have twice filed bills mirroring Arizona’s. The most recent, SB 590, died last session, but it would have required public elementary and secondary schools to check the immigration status of students (and their parents) and mandated that police check the citizenship of any possible immigrant they stop, regardless of whether an arrest was made.

Six states already have a version of Arizona’s bill and are awaiting the ruling for implementation. In all, sixteen states filed amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to support SB 1070.

Where once we depended upon the federal government to protect minorities from fire hoses and segregated schoolhouses named Booker T. Washington or George Washington Carver, this month the Supreme Court is poised to tell us how far local cops can go to detain brown people.

As if the federal government hadn’t gone far enough.

In fact, President Obama has deported 1.5 million Latinos, more than any other president. Such a massive displacement of humanity does not come without brutality.

In the first six months of 2011, 46,000 mothers and fathers were shipped back to Mexico and left their children in America. And more than 20,000 other parents were ordered out but have yet to depart. Roughly 22 percent of all deportees were forced to abandon children — children who are American citizens.

What SB 1070 does is criminalize the undocumented. The law forces all police officers to ascertain a person’s immigration status whenever a cop interacts with a brown person. Lights on a license plate too dim? A call about domestic violence? If an officer harbors any suspicion, he or she must ask for proof of citizenship. And if a cop doesn’t do that, any citizen can sue the cop for not taking deportation seriously. To protect against lawsuits, the cautious cop must question all Latinos.

The stated purpose of SB 1070 is “attrition through enforcement,” a chillingly efficient phrase.

How does a cop on the beat tell a Mexican from a Mexican American?

And so, the 74 percent of all Latinos in America who are, in reality, U.S. citizens must be harassed about their origins. Unlike everyone else, they must carry papers.


Obama sells the roundup of brown people through a program called Secure Communities. The alternative is clear enough.

Have we forgotten that the Irish, Italians, Jews and Cubans generated almost as many mug shots as American dreams?

Polls show that SB 1070 and similar laws in other states are supported by voters at rates between 60 to 70 percent nationally.

In states that have passed laws allowing local law enforcement to hunt the undocumented, the financial impact has been devastating.

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Family of man who died in Arizona desert may sue Border Patrol

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

The family of undocumented immigrant Idelfonso Martinez Sanchez, who died in the Arizona desert trying to cross into the United States after being deported, may sue the U.S. Border Patrol because they consider that the agents’ long delayed search for him contributed to the tragedy.

Martinez Sanchez, 39, had lived in the city of Vista, north of San Diego, for more than 20 years, and before his fatal attempt to return to the United States, he had tried unsuccessfully to reenter from Tijuana.

One of his companions when detained by the Border Patrol told the agents that they had left Martinez behind in the Arizona desert, but they didn’t begin searching for him until five days later.

“They could have saved him. They let him die worse than an animal – because we’re Mexicans and we have no documents they treat us the worst way,” Juana Garcia, widow of the deceased immigrant, told Efe Friday.

Garcia is also an undocumented immigrant. The couple has five children between ages five and 19.

“We’ll see what happens with the lawsuit. What they did is not right. I don’t work and they left me and my kids without our source of income. What we want is for justice to be done,” Garcia said.

The funeral service was held Thursday afternoon with the casket closed, because of the advanced state of decomposition, at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in the town of Vista, attended by close to 350 mourners.

The wife said that Martinez Sanchez’s body was found on the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation, one of the routes most used by immigrants crossing the desert without documents and where they face scorching temperatures above 100 F.

According to Garcia, Martinez had gone to buy milk at a store in Vista on March 1 when a friend asked him to take charge of the business because he had an emergency.

It was then that a cop who had gone to the store to deliver a letter asked Martinez for identification, and when the immigrant handed over his Mexican ID card, the policeman called the Border Patrol.

“The police officier did it out of pure racism, seeing that he looked Mexican. He had previously gone to other stores without asking anyone to identify themselves,” Juana Garcia said.

After being deported, his last attempt to cross through Arizona began April 20, when he promised a people smuggler close to $3,000 to help him get back into the United States, but after a day of trudging through the desert he felt ill.

One companion on the trip, Isaac Jimenez Hernandez, tried to help him, but despite his plea the people smuggler refused to stop the march, so he took a cell phone from Martinez’s pocket but had to walk another two hours before he could call 911, according to Martinez’s wife.

When the Border Patrol arrived, they arrested Jimenez Hernandez, who offered to take them to where Martinez was, but the agents refused, and it wasn’t until Jimenez Hernandez was freed in Mexicali two days later that he could Martinez’s family, who in turn called the Border Patrol.

Finally, at the insistence of the family and days after Jimenez was released in Mexico, the Border Patrol accepted Jimenez’s offer to help them find the body, which they did on April 26, when they found it in an advanced state of decomposition. EFE

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Border Patrol Hunting Immigrants

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Latinos are disappearing. Some have been detained on suspicion of immigration violations, others have fled in fear. There are allegations of racial profiling. And no, not in Arizona. Rather, the Olympic Peninsula, a remote stretch of Washington state accessible only by a single road, separated from Canada by the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Since 2006, the number of Border Patrol agents there has jumped from four to 40, the New York Timesreports.

The Patrol is even building a base capable of housing 50 officers there. Though it says its priority is catching smugglers and terrorists, one agent based there testified before Congress last year that the place was a “black hole” with “no purpose, no mission.” Except, many say, catching Latino immigrants; it apprehended 591 last year. The ACLU and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project have both filed lawsuits alleging racial profiling. “Everybody’s scared,” says one Latino resident. “Everybody’s leaving.”

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Justice Dept. Plans to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Federal authorities said Wednesday that they plan to sue Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office over allegations of civil rights violations, including the racial profiling of Latinos.

The U.S. Justice Department has been seeking an agreement requiring Arpaio’s office to train officers in how to make constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people arrested in traffic stops and reach out to Latinos to assure them that the department is there to also protect them.

Arpaio has denied the racial profiling allegations and has claimed that allowing a court monitor would mean that every policy decision would have to be cleared through an observer and would nullify his authority.

DOJ officials told a lawyer for Arpaio on April 3 that the lawman’s refusal of a court-appointed monitor was a deal-breaker that would end settlement negotiations and result in a federal lawsuit.

The “notice of intent to file civil action” came Wednesday from Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez in a letter to an Arpaio lawyer.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Arpaio defended himself in the face of the pending lawsuit.

“If they sue, we’ll go to court. And then we’ll find out the real story,” he said. “There’s lots of miscommunication emanating from Washington. They broke off communications.

“They’re telling me how to run my organization. I’d like to get this resolved, but I’m not going to give up my authority to the federal government. It’s as simple as that,” Arpaio added.

Separate from the civil rights probe, a federal grand jury has been investigating Arpaio’s office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009. That grand jury is examining the investigative work of the sheriff’s anti-public corruption squad.

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Latest target in battle over immigration reform: legal immigrants

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Federation for American Immigration Reform has been one of the most vociferous opponents of unauthorized immigration in this country since its founding in 1979. However, a new video released earlier this month by the organization shows that the group is taking its message one step further by targeting legal immigrants as well as undocumented.

In the video, a FAIR spokesman stands in front of a series of giant letters spelling out the word, “ILLEGAL.” Pushing the first two letters aside, the man asks, “But what about these workers, legal foreign workers?” He goes on to argue that the workers legally admitted into this country each year by the federal government are taking jobs away from natural born citizens at a time when the economy can not support this added influx of labor. The commercial concludes that we need to reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted to the U.S. until our economy improves.

Like much of the work done and many of the political messages communicated by FAIR, this latest video has ignited an uproar against the organization and its nativist beliefs. In an op/ed published in the online version of political newsmagazine Reason, columnist A. Barton Hinkle attacks the very idea that native born citizens have more rights to jobs in this country than legal immigrants. He writes, “The notion that immigrants, legal or otherwise, are taking ‘our’ jobs relies on the assumption that one person has more claim on an open position than another. This isn’t so.” He goes on to point out the paradox that the very same conservative politicians who support unlimited free markets for goods are often the ones supporting highly protectionist policies when it comes to labor.

However, regardless of whether or not legal immigrants have the same rights to employment in this country as natural born citizens, a larger problem with FAIR’s message may concern the organization’s belief that limiting immigration to this country is in any way good for the national economy. A University of Arizona study by Professor Judith Gans recently found the opposite, that in fact immigrants to the state actually have an important role in stimlulating the economy and contributing to job growth. The report concludes that in one year, immigrants to Arizona contributed $44 billion to the state’s economy and were responsible for the creation of 400,000 full time jobs, including many jobs that went to natural born citizens.

FAIR has been frequently lambasted for presenting false statistics and using these statistics to ignorantly and unjustly influence legislation, such as Arizona’s SB 1070. In addition, the organization has also been criticized for its close financial relationship with Neo-Nazi organization The Pioneer Fund.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Alabama and Georgia will try to salvage their laws targeting illegal immigrants in arguments before a federal court that already said there’s a “substantial likelihood” some parts will be thrown out.

A three-judge panel set to hear cases today in Atlanta temporarily blocked Alabama from requiring illegal immigrants to carry registration papers and forcing schools to determine the legal status of students as they enroll. It refused to block other provisions.

The Justice Department and nongovernment advocacy groups are likely to win parts of their challenges to the statutes because the federal government exclusively controls immigration, a different three-judge panel of the court said earlier.

Today’s oral arguments on three cases, two from Alabama and one from Georgia, will take place separately in one session for each state.

Georgia’s law would allow the police to check immigration status and bar transporting illegal aliens in some circumstances. It would require employers to verify whether a worker is a legal resident. The statute was blocked in June by a trial judge’s preliminary injunction. The state appealed.

Both states argue in court papers that they are trying to help the federal government manage immigrants. The laws are aimed at authorities who police and teach illegal residents, not the immigrants themselves, the states say.

Lawyers for Georgia say the law will help prevent illegal immigrants from being “victimized by employers or others” and “forced to work in horrific conditions.”
Georgia Argument

“The state does not regulate immigration but rather criminalizes its consequences,” Georgia Attorney General Samuel S. Olens said in a brief.

Alabama will get the most time from the judges, 40 minutes for each side in one case and 20 in the other. One suit was filed by the U.S. government and one by the Hispanic Interest Coalition.

Georgia’s lawsuit was filed by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. Each side will get 20 minutes to argue to the court.

Alabama’s law would require students and their parents to provide documentation of their legal status to their schools. The state argues that illegal residents consume scarce government resources.

The documentation rule would “have a chilling effect,” causing children to drop out of school and thus denying them due process of law guaranteed in the Constitution, Justin Cox, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in court papers. The ACLU joined the lawsuits filed by the Hispanic groups in both states.

The Alabama law would encourage illegal residents to “self-deport to states that are supportive” of illegal residents, making it more difficult to find them, the Justice Department said in court papers. The statute “frustrates the federal government’s ability to pursue removal proceedings” when necessary, it said.

The federal government has also sued to block laws aimed at apprehending illegal immigrants and keeping them from taking U.S. jobs in South Carolina, Arizona and Utah.

The U.S. Supreme Court in December agreed to review a ruling against Arizona’s requirement that police officers check the status of someone arrested who they reasonably suspect is in the country illegally. The Georgia and Alabama laws have the same provision.

The Arizona case will be heard in April by the high court.

The cases are U.S. v. State of Alabama, 11-14532, and Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley, 11-14535, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (Atlanta) and Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights v. Deal, 11-cv-01804, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta).

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Ariz sheriff says he’s gay after misconduct claims

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

 A nationally known sheriff resigned from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney‘s Arizona committee and acknowledged he was gay amid allegations of misconduct made by a man with whom he previously had a relationship.

But Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu vowed Saturday to continue his bid for the GOP nomination in Arizona’s rural 4th Congressional District race.

He denied claims he tried to threaten the man, a Mexican immigrant and a former campaign volunteer, with deportation if their past relationship was made public. The man’s allegations were first published Friday in the Phoenix New Times, an alternative weekly magazine.

Babeu, a first-term sheriff who has gained widespread attention with his strong opposition to illegal immigration and smuggling, said the accusations were an attempt to hurt his political career.

He said he had called presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s staff to say he would step down from his post as state campaign co-chair.

“This whole rumor, this whole of idea of who I am in my private life has been shopped around,” Babeu told reporters during an hour-long press conference Saturday in front of his sheriff’s office. “This was a way, the hook, of how this could be brought out, and to malign and attack a sheriff who does stand for conservative principals, who does enforce the law.”

The man’s lawyer, Melissa Weiss-Riner, released a statement Saturday saying the man retained her firm’s services because he was contacted by Babeu’s attorney and “felt intimidated.”

“Jose continues to live in fear, and is currently in the process of moving again,” she said. “Therefore, he is not available to speak with the media at this time.”

Weiss-Riner earlier told the New Times that Babeu’s attorney and campaign consultant falsely told her client that his visa had expired. Babeu told reporters he believed the man, identified only by his first name Jose, was living in the country legally.

The New Times posted a photo provided by the man of the two embracing. It also posted a cellphone self-portrait of a smiling Babeu in his underwear and another of what appears to be the shirtless sheriff in a bathroom, posted on a gay dating website. The man provided the magazine with photos of himself and Babeu and text messages between the two. Babeu didn’t deny their authenticity.

The huge congressional district where Babeu is seeking election runs from western Arizona all the way to the desert south of Phoenix. Its voters are heavily Republican and generally very conservative.

Babeu issued a sweeping denial of any wrongdoing in front of his headquarters. The press conference was attended by about three dozen high-ranking uniformed deputies, local elected officials and citizens.

“I’m here to say that all the allegations that were in the story were untrue — except for the instance that refers to me as gay,” Babeu said. “That’s the truth — I am gay.”

He said he didn’t have the power as a local sheriff to get anyone deported.

Babeu, who is not married, said he had been in a relationship with Jose that ended sometime before September. Jose also ran his campaign website and Twitter account, and Babeu said he began posting derogatory items on the sites after their breakup.

Babeu said he had his lawyer contact Jose and demand that he stop and turn over passwords allowing access to the sites. Babeu said the postings and actions amounted to identity theft but that he chose to deal with the matter privately through his lawyer.

Weiss-Riner’s statement Saturday said that as a campaign volunteer, Jose created and maintained several websites and accounts at Babeu’s request from approximately 2008 through late 2011. She did not elaborate.

It’s wasn’t immediately clear if Babeu’s admission would hurt him politically, but his primary opponents came out swinging.

Babeu is taking on an incumbent tea party Republican who switched districts, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, and state Sen. Ron Gould, a conservative from northwestern Arizona, in August’s 4th District primary.

Gould said he believed Babeu’s posting of pictures on what the lawmaker called a “homosexual hookup website” were a “Congressman Weiner type of moment.”

“The real issue here is the poor judgment of a government official, posting those kinds of photos on a public website,” Gould said. “I think that shows a lack of good judgment.”

He also said he believes Babeu’s sexual orientation would hurt him in the district. Gould sponsored Arizona’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, an amendment he said drew extremely strong support in the rural counties he and Babeu seek to represent.

“This is about an abuse of power, a misuse of public trust, bad judgment and the continued use of official resources for personal and political gain,” Gosar said in a statement that noted the location of the press conference and the large gathering of uniformed sheriff’s personnel at the event.

Babeu said he has never defined himself based on his ethnicity or sexual orientation, and he would continue to focus on unemployment and the federal deficit in his campaign.

“What I’m trying to do is (be) as forthright as possible, talking about deeply personal, private matters, and trying to be upfront,” Babeu said. “The disclosure of that information is something that I feel no American should have to do.”

Babeu acknowledged that he has sent and posted the photos, but said they were personal. When asked if posting such pictures on a public website showed poor judgment for a public official, he reiterated that he believed they were personal.

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Arizona Inmate Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Cell..LOL

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – Most people can’t wait to leave jail, but one northern Arizona inmate has been charged with trespassing after refusing to leave the Coconino County lockup.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports 44-year-old Martin Batieni Kombate was arrested in Flagstaff last week for trespassing and was scheduled for release Monday on his own recognizance on the charge.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, the inmate was released and was waiting in the waiting area for his ride.

Apparently, the inmate left his wallet in another area and wanted to go back to cell to get it.

The guards would not let him and he made a big scene — it was not that he wanted to stay in jail.

Police were called and Kombate was arrested. Kombate remains in jail.

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Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready Runs for Pinal County Sheriff as a Democrat

Friday, January 20th, 2012


He supports legalizing marijuana, considers himself a civil libertarian, has had nice things to say about the Occupy movement, and recently filed paperwork in Pinal County to run for Sheriff as a Democrat.

One little speed bump: He also happens to be the best known neo-Nazi in Arizona and has referred to Adolf Hitler as a “great white civil rights leader.”

I’m speaking, of course, of J.T. Ready, notorious for his affiliations with the National Socialist Movement (he’s no longer an official member, but still marches with them), his one-time friendship with Sand Land’s biggest bigot, ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce, and his ongoing armed patrols in the desert, during which he’s turned over drugs, dead bodies and suspected illegal immigrants to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Currently, Ready has a “J.T. Ready for Sheriff” Facebook site, with photos showing him campaigning in Pinal County, sidling up to a pretty African-American woman, posing with a shotgun as he hunts “narco-terrorists in the desert night,” and, my favorite, doing a black-power fist salute in front of a sign for a Malcolm X Street, apparently in Coolidge, Arizona.

His entry for the last of these bears repeating:

Ready promises a “George Lincoln Rockwell Street” when elected…

“As part of our exploratory committee for Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona– the Chairman and I visit a Black neighborhood to better understand the concerns of the people and how to utilize their help in combating Mexican drug cartels. Seems how we have an official Malcolm X street sign, one of my priorities will be to add a George Lincoln Rockwell sign as well.”

Rockwell, in case you don’t know, was the infamous fuhrer of the American Nazi Party, assassinated in 1967 by a disgruntled stormtrooper.

A recent pic from Ready’s profile on the white-supremacist NewSaxon site

Ready’s committee “chairman”? According to paperwork Ready submitted to the Pinal County Elections Department, that’s active NSM member Harry Hughes, a resident of Maricopa, Arizona, who recently scored some press for local swastika-lickers bydistributing racist fliers in the San Tan Valley.

The forms also state that both Ready and Hughes share the same Maricopa address. A woman by the name of “Amber Mederos” is listed as treasurer of the “Committee to Elect J.T. Ready.”

As Ready was once a registered Republican and a GOP precinct committeeman when he lived in Mesa, why has he now switched over to the Ds?

“It’s the party of Jim Crow, [late U.S. Senator and one-time KKK member] Robert Byrd, and [late Alabama Governor and one-time segregationist] George Wallace,” he cracked. “You gotta bring it home, know what I mean?”

Ready in 2009 with NSM member Harry Hughes (left), now chair of Ready’s exploratory committee

He described the exploratory phase of his campaign as “kinda putting your French Tickler on,” but said his campaign was “for real” and he hoped to draw support from all across the political spectrum.

“We should have freedom in this country,” he intoned, much like a candidate for office. “Whether or not it’s on the left or right-wing extreme, as long as it’s done lawfully, we need those things in place to prevent the middle from being eroded upon through tyranny.”

When I asked him if he was going to distance himself from his neo-Nazi activities — attending NSM marches, holding up a portrait of Hitler at one counter-demonstration, appearing in full NSM battle gear in another, and keeping an active page onNewSaxon.org, billed as an “online community for whites, by whites” — he skirted the issue, but would not badmouth his far-rightwing activism.

From 2007, when Pearce and Ready were still tight

“There’s a lot of history and things that need to be studied and talked about,” he replied of former statements praising Hitler. “More than at a coffeeshop, more than what’s going to be canned down for us down at a university.

“I mean, I just bought Mao’s Little Red Book…Does that make me a communist if I go out there and say some things from Mao?”

Some may think Ready will be easy to dismiss, what with his NSM-parading, media-garnering stunts and a record that includes being booted from the U.S. Marines and weird run-ins with law enforcement, such as a 2007 incident in which he was arrested for driving around with fictitious plates on his car.

Arturo Tolenttino
Ready leads a 2009 neo-Nazi rally in Riverside, California

Yet, I know him to be intelligent, media-savvy, and a practiced public speaker. Groomed by his erstwhile mentor Pearce to run for office (Ready ran for Mesa City Council long ago and lost), he remains a far better communicator than Pearce will ever be.

Indeed, I’ll never forget his 2007 speech before a nativist rally at the state Capitol, where Pearce applauded him and later worked the crowd with him arm-in-arm. Ready had the Mexican-haters eating out of his hands with a fiery address, talking about jerking noncompliant judges around by their collars and sealing off America with Marine divisions.

Chilling stuff. But also red meat for the nativists, who at that time were happy to have Ready in their ranks, no matter his extremism.

Pearce finally distanced himself from Ready during a 2008 re-election campaign. In 2010,I exposed how Pearce had helped initiate Ready into the Mormon faith, and Ready went on the record, denouncing Pearce as “the worst type of racist” and slamming him as a hypocrite.

Ever-quotable and eager to play the ham, Ready knows how to woo some members of the media, who remain ignorant or indifferent to his well-documented history.

“I can honestly say that I don’t look back with regret at things in my life that have cost me great pain,” he told me. “I consider it all a journey and a learning experience. Everything enriches us if we choose to take those things and use them for a better purpose…and that’s what I’m going to do here in Pinal County with this exploratory committee.”

In 2007, Ready attends an NSM rally in Omaha, Nebraska

Given such statements, I wonder if other members of the Fourth Estate will conveniently overlook Ready’s neo-Nazi antics.

Critical of Sheriff-turned-Congressional candidate Paul Babeu’s grandstanding, Ready regularly refers to the sheriff as “Baboon” and talks of battling corruption in Pinal County and favoring average citizens, even if they happen to be felons.

Regarding Babeu-ally Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom he’s supported somewhat in the past, Ready said he’ll work with him, if elected, but that a “Sheriff Ready” would focus on bigger fish than the small fry Arpaio goes after in his immigration sweeps and raids.

Speaking at an NSM march to the Arizona state Capitol in 2009

“If Sheriff Joe wants to take these 80 year-old posse guys and stand around with washed up celebrities [like Steven Seagal] and make little kids cry at car washes, that’s his deal,” Ready stated. “I’m going to be out there in the desert looking for really bad guys…not fucking around with this Filiberto’s stuff.”

Of his previous contretemps with law enforcement, Ready had this comeback, “Who better to put in charge of the attack dogs than somebody who’s been bit by them before?”

Ready will have to gather signatures to put his name on the primary ballot, though the total amount he’ll have to score has yet to be figured out.

Pinal County Elections spokeswoman Becky Canalez told me the exact number will be determined after March 1. She could only surmise that it would be between 262 and 5,233 signatures from qualified electors.

Meanwhile, Ready can raise money: the contribution limit is $430 per person, she said..

I wouldn’t put it past him to score a slot on the primary ballot, though he’s as much a Democrat as I am an Olympic gymnast.

The example that comes to mind is KKK leader David Duke, who came in second in Louisiana’s 1991 gubernatorial contest, losing in a run-off to corruption king Edwin Edwards.

Also, if Pinal County is conservative enough to go for a far-right opportunist like Babeu, Ready might draw as much support because of his past as in spite of it.

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