A new report by the U.S. Department of Justice provides fresh evidence for what so many Americans have long known-that an anti immigrant, racial profiling policy in Maricopa County has been the order of the day.
Soon, the Supreme Court will decide on the legality of Arizona’s SB1070 law. The Court is inspecting its most controversial provisions chiefly those that turn police officers into immigration agents in hot pursuit of brown people. The DOJ report provides fresh evidence against SB 1070.
Long before Governor Jan Brewer enacted SB1070, Maricopa County, AZ law enforcement had been engaging in an ongoing ethnic crackdown.
The 22-page report released yesterday by the DOJ accuses Maricopa’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio (their equivalent of a police commissioner) of an assortment of disturbing police abuses against Hispanics from allowing racially-driven stops and use of derogatory language, to ordering solitary confinement to inmates who do not speak English and retaliating against those who complain about the abuse.
The three-year investigation into Maricopa’s police rightfully calls Arpaio’s practices what the are- unconstitutional- and gives him until Jan. 4 to make changes. Hispanics and civil and human rights advocates from all over the country will be watching.
The disgraceful anti-immigrant sentiment in Arizona, and other states for that matter, point to larger issues. Two of the most important being that immigration is an issue too susceptible to ideological postures to be left up to states and that Congress must resume efforts to realize immigration reform.
The first is a constitutional fact that the Supreme Court must re-establish. The latter is on the hands of our elected officials. Unfortunately, many are playing politics with immigration policies. The longer they wait though, the more difficult it will be for them to reverse anti-Latino sentiment and regain Hispanic support-critical in an election year.