Almost three years later and 15 miles away, James Eagan Holmes was filling his home with armament. Hehad regular deliveries of ammunition for a military-style AR-15 rifle, two handguns and a shotgun he purchased over the course of 60 days. There were about 6,000 rounds in all, another 300 shotgun shells and a high-capacity drum for the rifle. In all, it amounted to more than 200 pounds of ordnance.
All of it legal. None of it, apparently, noticed by or reported to police. None of it the slightest bit disconcerting to ammunition suppliers, delivery drivers or neighbors.
The trial in Melendres v. Arpaio, a class-action civil-rights lawsuit, is scheduled to begin Thursday in Federal District Court in Phoenix. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, accuse the sheriff of waging an all-out, unlawful campaign of discrimination and harassment against Latinos and those who look like them.
They say the sheriff and his deputies — aided by ad hoc civilian “posses,” anonymous phone tipsters, even motorcycle gangs — made illegal stops, searches and arrests, staged wrongful neighborhood and workplace raids, and provoked widespread fear among citizens, legal residents and undocumented immigrants alike.
One plaintiff, Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, is a Mexican citizen who had a valid visa when Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies arrested him in 2007. He said he was handcuffed and held for hours, not read his rights or allowed a phone call, or told why he had been arrested. Two other plaintiffs, Velia Meraz and Manuel Nieto, were accosted by deputies at gunpoint during a neighborhood sweep, for no explained reason. They are citizens.
The outrages to be presented to the court can be added to a long list of abuses going back years, on the streets of Maricopa and in the sheriff’s jails. As early as 2008, The East Valley Tribune of Mesa, a city outside Phoenix, published a series of articles examining the immigration raids as a law-enforcement disaster. While deputies scoured the county making baseless immigration arrests, they neglected other duties, racking up millions of dollars in overtime and showing up ever later to emergencies while the number of criminal arrests and prosecutions plummeted.
Despite those results, Sheriff Arpaio kept going. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano could have condemned his actions years ago and refused to work with him. But instead, he was allowed to continue the abuse, even as his squad of immigration enforcers deputized under the federal 287(g) program grew to 160, by far the country’s largest. The sheriff became a right-wing celebrity, courted by politicians eager to win the anti-immigrant vote. One of these was Mitt Romney, who accepted his endorsement for president in 2008.
It’s nice to hear stories of Lady Liberty standing tall on her island escorting in people from all over the world. This image of her holding the torch shining light onto the path of those seeking a new begining and how they succeeded in America gives me a sort of patriotic sense. But I remind you…
The American Civil Liberties Union has released thousands of emails from a former Arizona legislator which they say prove that the controversial Arizona immigration law SB1070 was racially motivated. The slew of emails sent or forwarded from former Senator Russell Pearce (R), architect of the law, promoted discrimination and racial prejudice and lied about immigration issues, ACLU contends.
The e-mails were acquired through a public records request to the state legislature. The ACLU included many of the emails in a legal filing on Thursday, asking U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton to prevent the ‘show me your papers’ section of the law, slated to go into effect.
The e-mails uncovered from Pearce included racial bias and offensive language. Some quotes released to the Arizona Republic include:
“Can we maintain our social fabric as a nation with Spanish fighting English for dominance … It’s like importing leper colonies and hope we don’t catch leprosy. It’s like importing thousands of Islamic jihadists and hope they adapt to the American Dream.”
“Last week, Denver’s illegal aliens sang our national anthem in Spanish and bastardized the words of OUR country’s most sacred song.”
“Corruption is the mechanism by which Mexico operates. Its people spawn more corruption wherever they go because it is their only known way of life.”
“I’m racist because I don’t want to be taxed to pay for a prison population comprised of mainly Hispanics, Latinos, Mexicans or whatever else you wish to call them.”
On Friday, Pearce denied that he was racist or that the emails show discriminatory intent.
The section of the new Arizona law in question, the “show me your papers” provision, requires police to check the immigration status of people they have stopped if the person appears to be an immigrant. The section was upheld in the Supreme Court last month.
ACLU argues that the law should be blocked because Latinos in Arizona will face legalized racial profiling and discrimination.
Why is everyone caught on the technicalities of everything? We are ONE human kind. People cannot love one another on the basis of humanity? Is everyone so caught up in the political that they have forgotten to be compassionate. And also did the first Americans who came into this country come in…
This girl who I barely talked to who I used to go to school with in the Philippines just came up to me to ask for advice about adjusting to a new place. She immigrated to New York, and is asking me for advice on how she’d cope with everything. It feels great to help someone, extra points cause she’s the one who came up to me and we’re not close XD Anyways, I think if we help one another, it makes this seem easier if not make better. Lesson learned.
It was an odd sort of dance: I was trying to stand out in a highly competitive newsroom, yet I was terrified that if I stood out too much, I’d invite unwanted scrutiny. I tried to compartmentalize my fears, distract myself by reporting on the lives of other people, but there was no escaping the central conflict in my life. Maintaining a deception for so long distorts your sense of self. You start wondering who you’ve become, and why.
Do each person have a specific value? Does it increase or decrease based on your actions? Your decisions? Your merit? Is there an unwritten system of rules and regulations that we must follow or else we might endanger our value? I guess that’s called culture.
I am queer, undocumented, a community activist, an immigrant, a person of color, a recent college graduate, and a loving son and brother. Every single one of these identities has sustained my dedication to continue the work toward an inclusive society for all people.
Really great personal account about being LGBT and undocumented in the United States — click on the link to read the entire thing. It’s interesting how every part of our identity comes together to shape how we see the world.
The first Puerto Ricans who came to Providence did so in the 1920s. They moved to Providence and the surrounding areas to find work in the agriculture and manufacturing industries. Estimates of how many Hispanic people were living in Rhode Island before this time are complicated by…
What is your opinion in regards to the idea of national borders?
“I believe national borders are a joke. You always hear conservatives ranting and raving about protecting the borders from so called terrorists and “illegal” immigrants, but the reason you cannot protect the…
I urge you all to sign, call, share, tweet these petitions and stop the separation of these families. Damnit Obama, where the fuck is the relief and deferred action for these people?! Ugh, you make me sick.
This weekend many Colombians in Rhode Island will celebrate their heritage at the Colombian-American Parade and Festival. Join them this Sunday, July 22nd! The parade will step off at 10am in the parking lot of Dexter Credit Union in Central Falls, wind through the streets of Central Falls, and…
it is one of the most horrific murders of the social media age. Three Chicago teens decided to play a game called “”Pick ‘Em Out and Knock ‘Em Out” at 5 am on Tuesday morning. Soon, their game turned deadly and their target—62-year-old Delfino Mora—would die as he was…
“El alma del inmigrante es como un nino que se revuelca en la cama sin poder dormir: inquieta, alerta, siempre en moviemiento, en permanente busqueda pro un ricon donde descansar y sentirse seguro.”—Jorge Ramos (via humbledomains)
[Maria Hinojosa] said she was in the green room at CNN with Elie Wiesel. They were speaking about immigration. He told her that no human is illegal. I found the full quote:
“You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?”