Friday, April 25, 2008

Sheriff Joe's Posse On The Move In Phoenix

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's posse will be carrying out what he calls "crime-suppression operations" in Mesa, AZ. Like his two previous drills with his mix of immigration-trained deputies and vigilantes, it was not asked for by Mesa's mayor and is not welcomed. That hasn't deterred Sheriff Joe, who argues he's only enforcing state law. He doesn't need permission of the locals to do that. Civil-rights and immigrant-rights advocates dispute that and are likely to take the issue to court. (See Arizona Republic article.)

An auto accident in Marshalltown, Iowa, in which an undocumented and unlicensed driver sideswiped a car, causing the death of a 90 year-old woman, has created a stir that reached the state legislature. The lower house has passed a bill denying bail to the undocumented charged with felonies and added employer sanctions.

Midwestern farm communities having been gradually dying over the last half century. That has stopped with the coming of meat packing and the undocumented workers accompanying it. Decaying downtowns have come to life with the newcomers. But the welcome hasn't been especially warm. A culture clash has led to friction and resentment, especially since almost half of the Hispanics are undocumented and poor in speaking English. Marshalltown itself is now a quarter Hispanic. For the American Gothics it's a shocking change. Out of frustration and real incidents as the auto crash in Marshalltown, states and municipalities are turning to measures like the no-bail bill. A similar law in Arizona is being challenged in the federal courts and working its way up to the supreme court. (See LA Times article.)

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