Friday, September 18, 2020

Activists March for Immigration


Activists carrying posters that said “We Are Human” and “Stop the Raid marched in Phoenix opposing a crackdown on illegal immigrants by an Arizona sheriff.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently has dispatched deputies into Hispanic communities in the Phoenix area where they stop people and arrest anyone who cannot prove that they are a legal U.S. resident. The deputies have arrested more than 1,500 people whom they determined were in Arizona illegally.

Arpaio’s crackdown on illegal immigrants has angered Latino activists and lawmakers who call his program a clear case of racial profiling because only people who look Hispanic are targeted. Arpaio denies this allegation.

Earlier this month, he caused more controversy when he marched 220 illegal immigrants in shackles and striped prison garb through Phoenix under armed guard.

“Walking people through the streets in chains, public shaming; it’s medieval,” said Veronica Perez, 32, an archeologist carrying signs reading “No Human Is Illegal” and “Stop the Raids.”

Yesterday’s march for human rights was organized by activists from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and a group called El Puente Arizona. An estimated 1,000 to 3,000 people participated in the march. Preparing for the march at a park in central Phoenix, school district coordinator Sylvia Airington, 47, criticized Arpaio’s policies for being discriminatory.

“Racial profiling, targeting the Hispanic community — it’s an embarrassment to America,” she said.

Although immigration has long been a national political issue, the debate has been pushed to the backburner due to the concerns over the economic crisis.

A bid to push comprehensive immigration reform through Congress was rejected by Republican lawmakers two years ago. President Barack Obama who supported the measure has not yet acted on the issue.

“I voted for Obama for change,” said welder Oscar Camacho, 45. “But with respect to immigration, I see no change at all.”

Around 100 counter-demonstrators waving American flags turned out to support Arpaio on Saturday; some were carrying holstered pistols.

“He is the only one to uphold illegal immigration laws,” said Dina Rose.

Rose adds, “The county sheriff is America’s last hope of protecting our freedoms.”

Reuters

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  1. La Plaza says:

    […] As previously discussed in “La Plaza” last week, thousands in Phoenix protested peacefully against rampaging Sheriff Arpaio. He has a reputation of terrorizing Latino neighborhoods by initiating harsh sweeps and parading shackled immigrants through the streets. Many accuse Sherriff Arpaio of severely misusing the powers granted under a program called 287(g), which enlists local police as immigration enforcers. (See: Activists March for Immigration) […]