By Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, Unitarian Universalist (UU) Congregation of Phoenix, AZ.
Unitarian Universalists in Phoenix stand with Immigrant, Labor, and Civil Rights Groups. We demand: Stop the raids! Revoke Maricopa County's 287(g) agreement! Investigate Sheriff Arpaio!
Empowered by federal 287 (g) agreements, which give local law enforcement the power and
authority to enforce federal immigration laws, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has used this
authority to create an environment of fear and intimidation throughout Maricopa
County. His tactics
are destroying families and the larger fabric of community in the Phoenix area. Under
the guise of justice, he and the Sheriff's department rely on the worst acts of
profiling, discrimination and civil rights abuses. What's more, his
actions fail to address the criminal problems that result from the human and
drug trafficking across the border because they only serve to victimize the most
powerless, easy targets.
latest abuse of power involved marching detained immigrants in black and white
striped prison clothes through the streets of Phoenix to the "tent city" desert
prison on the outskirts of town where immigrants are segregated. Targeting
the Latino community in Maricopa County is devastating to Arizona's rich
multicultural heritage. His tactics intentionally target the Latino
community by raiding largely Latino neighborhoods and workplaces and detaining
people who cannot prove their citizenship during routine traffic
violations. These tactics foster mistrust of law enforcement in the larger
community, and citizen community members are afraid to speak out against him for
fear of losing their jobs or being harassed.
For all Arpaio's
claims of going after murderers, he is not making our community safer. The
Mayor of Phoenix and the City of Phoenix Police Department have criticized
Apraio for failing to address the real criminal elements associated with illegal
immigration. In Phoenix in particular, crime associated with
human and drug trafficking across the border is a reality. Gang activity,
assault, murder, robbery and rape are all effects of illegal trafficking across
the border and they are serious problems. Unfortunately, Sheriff Joe
Arpaio's raids neglect the far more difficult and dangerous work of
addressing these criminal elements. Rather, his tactics target people
whose only crime is being in this country without papers. He is going
after people with few rights, while turning a blind eye to dangerous
Our approach to immigration
enforcement must balance security and
humanitarianism, safety and civil
rights. Sheriff Joe
Arpaio is doing harm to our understanding of our diverse nation
and creating a culture of fear and discrimination that jeopardizes the
thoughtful discussion we need to be having in order to move
We invite Unitarian Universalists in Phoenix, AZ, and across the country to stand with us as we demand that the federal government hold Sheriff Arpaio accountable for his actions and dissolve the 287(g) agreement with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Please visit the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) 287(g)/Arpaio Action Page to support the campaign in Phoenix and find ways get involved in your own community.
For more information contact la_racialjustice @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
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Last updated on Thursday, June 3, 2010.
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Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, minister of UU Congregation of Phoenix.
Get Involved: 287(g)/Arpaio Action Page
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