Sheriff Joe Arpaio Stages Immigrant-Degradation March for the Cameras

Written by on February 4, 2009 in Detention, Enforcement with 8 Comments

Video by America’s Voice.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix, Arizona, seems to have an appetite for publicity so insatiable that it overrides both rationality and morality. His latest stunt—announced yesterday in an official press release, no less—comes today, when he will order “approximately 200 illegal aliens to be chained and marched” from the Durango Jail to a segregated area of his “Tent City” incarceration complex. Lest one be fooled into believing that this is a legitimate law-enforcement operation, Arpaio’s press release includes details on the parade route and where “interested media” should park to cover this spectacle of degradation.

According to Arpaio, marching chained immigrants from prison cells to tents surrounded by electric fencing will save money because it’s cheaper to house inmates in tents than in a traditional jail. However, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox notes that Arpaio “doesn’t outline how he’ll save costs.” Acting County Manager Sandi Wilson says that if Arpaio is “coming up with budget savings, he ought to offer it up. At this point, he hasn’t. And this doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Arpaio’s claim to be genuinely concerned about the county budget is undermined by more than his apparent glee at the “shock” undocumented immigrants will receive if they attempt to scale the electric fence in which they will be enclosed. It is also contradicted by his well-documented history as a profligate spender of taxpayer money who prefers political grandstanding to serious law enforcement. As the Immigration Policy Center notes in a December 2008 fact sheet, investigations by the East Valley Tribune and the conservative Goldwater Institute have found that, under Arpaio’s leadership, the budget of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has nearly doubled since 2001, yet “response times to 911 calls have increased, arrest rates have dropped, and thousands of felony warrants have not been served.” Meanwhile, “hundreds of undocumented immigrants have been arrested for smuggling themselves, often when their vehicles are stopped for burned-out license plate lights or for traffic violations.”

Sheriff Arpaio’s newest media extravaganza at the expense of immigrants certainly won’t do anything to stop undocumented immigration or to reduce serious crime in his community. But it may help drum up even more publicity for Arpaio himself and further endear him to anti-immigrant activists. And perhaps that is what this is all about.

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  • Henry Bookout

    It is hard to believe that Arpaio’s action’s are actually taking place in the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” He, if anybody, is not among them. Henry Bookout.

  • K Snell

    Since the first time I have heard about this guy untill now It is a shame that he does not see the big picture. The USA used to be a strong nation who made all our products at home and did not rely on “out sourcing” to China. We have the labor pool to create this stability again and instead we are acting like Sargent Shulz. When the influx at Ellis Island was in full bloom we did not act as Mr Arpaio. If we did many of us would not be Americans now. Were your Great Grand Parents from America??? VOTE HIM OUT………

  • Breakthrough

    We should never deny anyone in our country due process and human rights. See a pregnant woman who was detained and shackled speak of the harmful impact of agreement 287(g) between local police and federal immigration authorities, which also enables people like Sheriff Arpaio to enforce unfair immigration policies.
    Also check out

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  • Ryan


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  • Jim

    The Sheriff is doing a bangup job. Keep it up. Who else is enforcing our immigration laws? The tent city idea is great. Saves taxpayer money and probably keeps repeat offenders from wanting to be put there again. The bleeding hearts want AC – gyms – etc for criminals who could care less about damage done to law abiding citizens.

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