Just over a week ago, I told you about the latest affront to human dignity carried out by the 21st century’s answer to Bull Connor. At the beginning of February, a month in which we celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio decided to bring back a staple of the Jim Crow South – the chain gang – to the Southwestern desert. He marched 200 undocumented prisoners from the County Jail to a tent city a couple of miles away. He put them in chains and paraded them through the city streets of Phoenix to the open air jail, surrounded by an electric fence.
Well, that little stunt earned him, besides the full-throated outrage of human rights activists, immigrant rights groups, and organizations that care about the rights of communities of color, working families, and effective policing, the scrutiny of powerful members of the United States Congress. And we want you to help add your voice to this scrutiny.
As a result of street actions by Arizona ACORN members and other pro-New American organizations, the voices that many of you raised through petition efforts like the one ACORN launched on February 5th, and meetings between ACORN leaders in DC for our annual Legislative and Political Conference and the staff of House Judiciary Chair John Conyers, Chairman Conyers issued a request today that puts Arpaio’s actions squarely in the cross-hairs.
Joining Chairman Conyers, a lion of America’s Civil Rights Movement, were Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who all called on Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to investigate Arapio’s long-running reign of terror and error.
The Congressional leaders are also asking for an investigation of the agreements between Maricopa County and the United States Government under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. I am asking you to join with us and add your voice to those calling for an investigation of actions such as these:
• A taste of the Jim Crow South in the heart of Phoenix.
• Arresting activists at public hearings for applauding calls for investigations into his actions.
• Forcibly separating parents from citizen children as the result of his police-state approach to America’s immigration challenge.
Frankly, it is about time. The people of Maricopa County deserve better, New American communities and communities of color deserve better, and all Americans deserve a better model for the challenges of immigration facing this country. The Arpaio spectacle shows that a police-state solution does not work.
With your help, Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano will listen to the request from Conyers and his subcommittee Chairs and take a second step towards bringing real justice back to Maricopa County and ensuring that law enforcement isn’t simply about “just us”.
Stand with us in helping make that happen.