From the Frontlines of the Immigrant Rights Struggle: Report from Maricopa County

By Ramon ZepedarnrnOn Saturday, February 28, 2009, I joined activists and advocates from across the nation in Maricopa County, Arizona to march in solidarity with the immigrant community and to protest the policies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. rnrnArpaio has been using a 287(g) agreement with the Department of Homeland Security, which gives local police departments the power to enforce immigration laws, to active terrorize the Latino community in Maricopa County. Escalating from well-documented racial profiling of individuals of Latino origin, last month Arpaio marched a group of 200 immigrants in shackles and chains from a detention center to a tent city in the desert surrounded by an electric fence.rnrnThe outcry against these practices has been widespread, with the National Day Labor Organizing Network and ACORN leading petition drives, days of action, and teach-in’s. rnrnParticipants in the Feb. 28th march carried signs that read, “We are human,” “Arpaio is not my America” and “Reforms not Raids.” Carmen, 27, a resident of Maricopa County described how she was a victim of racial profiling: “I have been stopped just because of the color of my skin. One day I was stopped three times in less than a mile just to be asked to show my ID.” The march was more than a protest against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it was also a call to end 287(g) agreements and raids across the nation and support a comprehensive immigration reform.rnrnOn Wednesday, March 11, 2008 activists in the DC area will hold their own mobilization in the nation’s Capitol to coincide with America’s Voice and ACORN delivering a petition to the Department of Justice denouncing the violation of civil and human rights by Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County Arizona.rn

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