Saturday, July 31, 2010

12 arrested in protest outside Phoenix jail

Twelve protesters were arrested Friday afternoon after allegedly blocking access to the Lower Buckeye Jail near 35th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road in Phoenix, authorities said.

The protesters, who have been vocal in their opposition to Arizona's immigration law, were reportedly trying to stop a crime-suppression sweep run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

The road was cleared as of 4:45 p.m., officials said.

Salvador Reza, the leader of a group called Puente, was among those arrested, according to Puente spokeswoman Opal Tometi.

On Thursday, at least 50 protesters were arrested after allegedly blocking a public thoroughfare at Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix. Reza was arrested at Thursday's protest as well.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Phoenix police trained for immigration protests

The officers sat in the cool of the Phoenix Municipal Court basement watching DVDs on laptop computers, reading books and dozing off with their riot helmets as pillows, waiting patiently for the protesters to arrive.

As the crowd swelled near Phoenix City Hall, the officers moved in formation to clear the street of protesters and journalists amid chants denouncing Senate Bill 1070.

Phoenix deployed several hundred police along Washington Street and other busy downtown streets on Thursday, led by a core group of about 150 crowd-control officers carrying detailed protest plans.

By midday, more than 20 protesters were in custody, including women and youngsters who linked arms in solidarity before they were led off the street.

A mile away from the action, operation chiefs were calling shots from the second-floor of a Phoenix Fire Department administration building as part of a coordinated effort spanning multiple law-enforcement agencies. Police leaders said they aim to overstaff security for large-scale protests and other major events to ensure backup for officers on the front lines.

Thursday morning's march and protests were mostly peaceful, though tactically trained officers know that any major event can turn violent quickly.

"It can go from peaceful to riotous in a second," Phoenix police Sgt. Ed DeCastro said. "It just takes one sentence or a bottle being thrown."

Phoenix trained additional precinct patrol officers in crowd-control tactics after April's protests in downtown and near the Capitol, in which high-school students funneled unexpectedly into the area en mass.

Phoenix police Lt. Jeff Lazell, who oversees tactical-response teams through the Phoenix Police Downtown Operations Unit, said the goal was to prepare officers citywide in case of any unexpected violence that would force them into critical supporting roles downtown. Training included tactics on forming "skirmish-lines" to safety disperse unruly crowds.

"We trained about 1,200 officers in 10 days," Lazell said. "To coordinate that kind of training is an undertaking."

Command-center operations began at 6 a.m. Staff wore headsets tuned to a secure radio frequency for event communications and kept watch over video screens showing live feed from SB 1070 hot spots: the federal courthouse, Wells Fargo building, Cesar Chavez Plaza, Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail, and a building housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Lt. Brian Lee, operations chief, said street activity was fairly quiet for much of the morning; most police activity was limited to assisting a group of 150 to 200 demonstrators safely wind their way through the streets.

"As far as expectations, it's really kind of hard to tell with this group," Lee said. "We have people coming in from out of state; we have other people that aren't part of our local community. We try to get as much information as we can on what their intentions are, but a lot of it is reactionary because we just don't know what they plan to do."

Radio traffic started to pick up about 9 a.m., as demonstrators began to swarm around First Avenue and Washington Street. Images of the group flashed from flat-screen TVs hanging overhead in the four corners of the room, each tuned to local and national news stations.

At 9:06 a.m., a voice crackled over the command radio channel.

"We've got 150 or so people at Washington," the voice said above a din of crowd activity. "Game plan is they're supposed to come over at 10 or 10:30. We'll have some issues at that time."

Command-center staff gathered around the live feed as, like clockwork, people began to flood Washington Street at 10 a.m., blocking in westbound vehicles.

At 10:15 a.m., another voice came over the command channel: "Be advised, we have initiated our first warnings" for pedestrians to get out of the street. "We're going to issue second warnings. In 10, we'll start issuing number ones," or arrests.

Twelve minutes later, another voice: "OK, we're going to go ahead, start making our first arrests. Arrest the gentleman in the gray hat."

Within seconds, live TV feed showed four officers closing in to cuff the man and lead him away to a white van. One by one, the command was issued to arrest four people who had been standing in a line next to the man in the gray hat.

And one by one, they were led away.

Arizona's New Immigration Law: Cops vs. CopWatchers

Arizona's SB1070 is now law but, gutted of the provisions that made it a national controversy, it is a remarkably toothless instrument for policing, despite the huff and guff of anti-illegal-immigration hardliners like Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix), who did not postpone scheduled sweeps through Latino communities. Indeed, for all the hype of Arpaio's "Crime Suppression/Illegal Immigration Operation" on Thursday, the day the law went into effect, he and his deputies arrested only three undocumented people. By contrast, on Wednesday nearly 90 illegal immigrants were arrested in a two-part sweep in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

What vaporized from Arizona's new immigration law were stipulations that law enforcement could require proof of immigration status from people they have stopped for questioning. The original version would have made it a state crime not to carry documentation; and it would have let police arrest undocumented immigrants if they were found seeking employment in a public space. If Arpaio were armed with all of that, the likelihood is that he would have detained a large number of people. In his 16 prior operations, nearly 1,000 suspected violators were arrested, 60% of whom were undocumented immigrants. This time, out of about 40 people the Sheriff's office apprehended Thursday, only a handful — just 7% — were illegal immigrants.

But there may have been other reasons the numbers were low, apart from the temporary injunction blocking the most contentious parts of the law. Some officers said the desert monsoon weather dampened the operation. Another factor may well have been Lydia Guzman, a prominent Hispanic activist, who, along with a group called CopWatch, designed a detailed messaging system to warn the Phoenix Valley of immigration sweeps. Guzman sent an initial text blast to 100 rapid response teams of business owners, Spanish radio stations, pastors and teachers, each of whom messaged their respective networks. At the same time, Guzman contacted lawyers, social workers and elected officials to be at the ready to help. "It spiderwebs out," she says. "Before you know it my text tree spreads out to thousands of people."

Sheriff Arpaio has called her out for undermining his work. "The Sheriff has even accused me of putting coyotes [the popular name for operators of people smuggling rings] on text tree," she told TIME. "But number one, they don't live here and, number two, a lot of smugglers are the ones we want put away. They are the ones who hurt our people."

In addition to Guzman's tweets, CopWatch visibly tails police operations. On Thursday, in one small West Phoenix mobile command center, members of CopWatch monitored police communications. "They just said '294 King' — that means immigration. Let's go," cried one member listening to the police scanners. And with that CopWatch activists grabbed cameras, lawyer contacts and car keys to follow Arpaio's sweep.

Sheriff Arpaio has been tweeting as well. A few messages sent to his followers and the press from Thursday: "Just got a report that protesters are now trying to block my downtown jail sallyport and are chaining themselves to the jail"; "Just finished up with protesters at the jail, we will now resume our operation"; then immediately after, "I'm heading over to 4th Ave Jail to see what's going on w/ protesters around the jail."

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office arranged for nearly 45 media crews to trail along with the patrols. Sometimes, it seemed that Arpaio's media strategy got in the way of his own operation: his deputies had to delay the crime sweep to enable Arpaio to give a press conference at the jail where protesters chained themselves across the main booking entrance. "He can't stay away from the camera," says CopWatch activist Dennis Gilman. "We successfully disrupted his sweep, because all his deputies were down there dealing with the protesters.",8599,2007858,00.html

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Immigration protesters try to close Tucson freeway with tar, tires, glass

Traffic on Interstate 19 was briefly disrupted south of Ajo Way this morning after a group of protesters placed tar and tires on the highway.

A group calling itself "Freedom for Arizona" said it planned to cover the southbound lanes of I-19 with tires covered in tar and broken glass to shut down "the very road that is used to deport people deemed 'illegal' as well as a direct disruption of the flow of capital," the group said in a news release.

Law enforcement officials have cleaned up the tires and reopened the interstate, according to the Department of Public Safety.

There were no reports of injuries.

Andres Chavez was arriving home from school and saw the whole incident. He said two trucks driving parallel on southbound Intestate-19 between Ajo and Valencia stopped and threw tires connected by rope from the truck beds.

The 8-12 men in the trucks then threw brown paint, broken glass and a sign over the tires. The sign read: "Stop the militirazation on the border." Then, they drove away, Chavez said.

"They halted traffic completely and almost got rear-ended by cars behind them," Chavez said.

Chavez pulled the 15-20 tires off the road because he was worried about wrecks.

"I have no problem with people protesting or whatever, but they were putting people's lives at risk," said Chavez, a 23-year-old University of Arizona journalism student. "There could have been a multi-car pile up there."

He described the tire-throwers as men between the ages of 20-25 who wore regular regular clothes.

In its news release, a group claiming responsibility said: "Neither SB 1070 nor the deployment of National Guard troops to the border do anything to address the root causes as to why people migrate.

"U.S. economic policies and wars have displaced and impoverished millions of people all over the world. Capital-driven policies, such as NAFTA, create poverty. These policies and laws not only consume and exploit land and people, but they also displace us from our homes, forcing us to migrate in order to survive."

Downtown protest

Meanwhile in downtown Tucson there were mostly peaceful protests in front of the state building at Congress and Granada.

One man, who supported SB1070, was arrested on suspicion of the threats and intimidation after he continued agitating those opposed to the law, and threatening two people, said Sgt. Fabian Pacheco, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

Officers had asked him to calm down before the arrest. He was removed from the protest area and taken to the Tucson police west side substation. The man was cited and released.

That was the only arrest at the Tucson events.

Several hundred people with signs, bull horns and drums demonstrated Thursday morning, most of whom oppose the law. Most said they were pleased with the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton that blocked key provisions in the law but that they still had concerns about the remaining provisions that went into effect.

"I'm pleased but not satisfied," said Lino Vasquez, a 25-year-old college student.

"It was a small stepping stone," said Angelina Castrillo-Sereno, who brought her two children with her to the rally.

There was also supporters of SB1070 who were unhappy with the judge's decision.

"I'm very disappointed," said Renee Allison, of Tucson. "It's a very sad day. It's sad that people don't support the law."

By 11 a.m., the number of protesters had decreased substantially.

Phoenix Arrests

Opponents of Arizona's immigration crackdown went ahead with protests Thursday in Phoenix despite a judge's ruling that delayed enforcement of most the law, and dozens of people in Phoenix were arrested after peacefully confronting officers in riot gear.

Outside the state Capitol, hundreds of protesters began marching at dawn, gathering in front of the federal courthouse where Bolton issued her ruling on Wednesday. They marched on to the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made a crackdown on illegal immigration one of his signature issues.

At least eight protesters approached a police line and allowed themselves to be arrested. A group of about two dozen protesters then sat down in the middle of the street or refused to leave, and police arrested them as well.

Earlier, three people were detained at the courthouse after apparently entering a closed-off area. Former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002, was among them.

Marchers chanted "Sheriff Joe, we are here, we will not live in fear," and among the crowd was a drummer wearing a papier-mache Sheriff Joe head and dressed in prison garb.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Arizona immigration law protesters arrested after blocking street

Hundreds of activists marched on downtown Phoenix in protest of Senate Bill 1070 Thursday, participating in mass acts of civil disobedience, prayer vigils and other rallies.

Dozens were arrested at various locations, including members of the media who were covering the event.

The protests were peaceful, but disruptive. Opponents of the tough new immigration law blocked Washington Street near Phoenix City Hall for nearly an hour Thursday morning, snarling traffic and light-rail service.

At least two dozen were arrested at that location, after linking arms and lying down in the street, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department.

They were charged with obstructing a public thoroughfare, which is a misdemeanor, Thompson said.

By noon, the bulk of the activity was centered on the 4th Avenue Jail, a primary booking location for felony arrests in Maricopa County.

Several hundred people had converged on that location, and six people were arrested after chaining themselves to the building; about 10 others were taken into custody by deputies dressed in riot gear after they blocked the jail's driveway and refused to move.

In total, about 30 people were arrested for blocking a public thoroughfare, including some members of the press. Law enforcement officials said the members of the media were given the same warning as the activists before being taken into custody.

Protesters at the jail blocked the entrance at 3rd Avenue and Madison, chanting, "No Justice, no peace, no racist police," and "Arrest Arpaio, not the people." At least one squad car from Goodyear turned a way and had to find a different entrance. "We're not trying to get arrested, we are trying to make a point," said Ruben Lucio, 21, of Phoenix. Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Phoenix, said she came to the jail because "I am standing for human rights. Not one more person, not one more mother, not one more grandfather will be taken from their family."

Even though a federal judge on Wednesday blocked key provisions of the state's tough new immigration law, rallies, protests, prayer vigils and acts of civil disobedience were held throughout the morning.

The provisions of the law that were not blocked took effect at 12:01 a.m.; Gov. Jan Brewer's legal team is expected to file an expedited appeal of the judge's order with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals within the hour.

Thursday morning's protests started quietly with an early morning prayer vigil and march from the state Capitol to the Trinity Cathedral in downtown Phoenix. Only about 100 people attended that demonstration, but the protestors have steadily picked up steam since then.

About 400 people attended the service at the Trinity Cathedral, and then demonstrators marched toward the federal courthouse. Three people, including former state legislator and activist Alfredo Gutierrez were arrested there around 8:30 a.m.

The other individuals who were taken into custody identified themselves as Dan O'Neal and Doris Perez.

"The injunction did not go far enough," O'Neal moments before getting arrested. "This movement is about more than 1070."

After that, several activist groups converged on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's offices near the Wells Fargo building in downtown Phoenix. Arpaio, who planned one of his immigration sweeps Thursday, was one of the primary targets of demonstrators' ire.

The groups that joined up outside his offices eventually led to the multiple arrests on Washington Street.

From there, the activists moved on to the 4th Avenue Jail, where where the scene grew increasingly rowdy and intense before organizers started calming protestors down and moving them away. One protestor chained himself to what appeared to be an emergency exit, saying Wednesday's court ruling didn't go far enough. "It's a small victory," said Devin Fleenor, of Phoenix. "We need to have a lot more change, than just a temporary injunction on SB 1070."

At about 12:30 p.m., Sheriff Joe Arpaio re-deployed a dozen deputies armed in riot gear to the location.

The deputies were supposed to be part of a crime sweep operation planned for early afternoon. The sweep has now been postponed until at least 4 p.m.

Arpaio's crime sweep delayed by protest

Sheriff Joe Arpaio postponed a crime sweep Thursday after diverting resources to the Fourth Avenue Jail, were a protest was to be held this afternoon.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said the sweep would still take place, probably about 4 p.m.

During a news conference attended by a throng of international, national and local media outlets, he wouldn't say exactly where the sweeps were taking place.

"I'm not trying to get into any judge's face (with this operation)," he said. "But I'm trying to let the public know: we enforce human smuggling (laws), we enforce employer sanctions (laws)."

Arpaio said they are going to divert resources from the sweep to the Fourth Avenue Jail, where a protest is expect to draw busloads of people who oppose the state's immigration law.

"I got a gut feeling we will not be arresting any illegal aliens with all this hype going on," he said.

Arpaio has said frequently that he doesn't need the law, which created a misdemeanor offense in Arizona for immigrants who fail to carry registration documents, and his track record backs him up.

Thursday's operation would mark the 17th time Arpaio has deployed hundreds of deputies and volunteer posse members in an area of the Valley to root out illegal immigrants. Deputies typically take a "zero tolerance" approach to traffic offenses and then check the criminal history of the motorists. Some of Arpaio's deputies who were trained to enforce federal immigration law used to be able to conduct roadside immigration screenings, but the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stripped deputies of that authority last year, forcing sheriff's deputies to wait until they bring suspects to jail to determine immigration status.

If the deputies come across residents who admit to being in the country illegally but who have not committed a state crime, the deputies typically coordinate with local ICE officials to transfer custody of those suspects.

A key piece of the law that Bolton blocked on Wednesday would have allowed deputies to arrest some of those suspects for violating the new law if they weren't carrying registration documents.

"That would have been a nice little extra twist if we could have locked them up instead of handing them over to ICE," Arpaio said Wednesday after Bolton's ruling.

The size and scope of the sweeps have varied since Arpaio launched the efforts in 2008 near 32nd Street and Thomas Road.

A three-day sweep in Mesa last summer paid 83 deputies and supervisors to arrest 59 people at a cost of $38,387. A two-day operation in Fountain Hills in May 2008 used 13 deputies, cost $3,947 and resulted in 20 arrests.

The Sheriff's Office pays for the operations through its general fund, state funding and grants. Arpaio is not concerned about the expense, saying the deputies in those operations would be working anyway -- it is just a matter of when and where.

Advocates of the sweeps say their value is largely in discouraging illegal immigrants from remaining in the community.

However, critics suggest they simply scare legal and illegal immigrants alike and drive a wedge between members of the community and law enforcement.

While Arpaio's past 16 crime-suppression operations have captured a variety of criminals, the majority of offenders were booked for relatively minor offenses, an Arizona Republic review of crime data shows. For example, an April sweep caught 93 people, most of whom were snared either solely for immigration violations or for minor offenses. Only two violent offenders were arrested.

Arpaio's deputies have arrested 932 people in their operations dating back to March 2008. Of those, 708 were suspected of being in the country illegally, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Communique: Tucson Interstate Temporarily Blocked!

Sigue en español abajo:

Partial justice is no justice at all! Despite Judge ruling to block parts of SB 1070, racial-profiling, raids, deportations and the militarization of the border will continue unchallenged. This is why today we shut down Interstate 19 (I-19)

July 29, 2010 Tucson, AZ—On the morning that SB1070 is scheduled to take effect in the state of Arizona and three days before Obama deploys 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, a group of concerned community members blocked traffic on I-19 south of Ajo Rd. in Tucson, AZ. A blockade of tires covered in tar and broken glass were placed across both southbound lanes along with a banner reading “Stop All Militarization! The Border is Illegal!” This blockade is a temporary shutdown of the very road that is used to deport people deemed “illegal” as well as a direct disruption of the flow of capital. By blocking I-19 we have halted the transportation of migrants and the profits Whack-n-hut and Corrections Corporation of Amerikkka make by these inhumane acts of separating families, communities and loved ones. This morning we interrupt the privatization of the criminalization of people of color.

The State of Arizona ruthlessly disrupts and terrorizes the lives of non-white communities on a daily basis. SB 1070 is yet another example of how migrants and people of color are criminalized. Today’s action is a declaration of resistance to the criminalization of affected communities and the militarization of indigenous land.

Neither SB 1070 nor the deployment of National Guard troops to the border do anything to address the root causes as to why people migrate. U.S. economic policies and wars have displaced and impoverished millions of people all over the world. Capital-driven policies, such as NAFTA, create poverty. These policies and laws not only consume and exploit land and people, but they also displace us from our homes, forcing us to migrate in order to survive. If policymakers were serious about stopping “illegal immigration,” they would end these capitalist exploitations and stop their military invasions abroad.

We want an end to the militarization of indigenous land, I.C.E. raids, deportations, the attacks on ethnic studies, violence against women and queer people, the expansion of prisons and immigration detention centers, empire, the border wall and the genocide at the Arizona-Sonora border that has claimed the lives of over 153 people during the first 8 months of this fiscal year alone.

Today we interrupt the flow of Arizona’s traffic to bring attention to the following points:






We affirm our dignity and promote the well-being of all people. We stand for solidarity, peace, self-determination and autonomy. We assert the rights of all people everywhere to feel safe and live free of oppression and state violence.


A pesar de la decisión de la Juez de bloquear componentes polémicos de la medida SB 1070, el perfil racial, las redadas, deportaciones y la militarización de la frontera continuaran sin ser desafiadas. Es por eso que hoy bloqueo la Interestatal 19 (I-19).

29 de Julio 2010 Tucson, AZ—En la mañana que la SB 1070 esta programada para entrar en vigor en el estado de Arizona y tres días antes de que Obama desplegue a 1,200 tropas de la Guardia Nacional, un grupo de miembros comunitarios bloquearon el tráfico hacia en la I-19, sur de La Calle Ajo en Tucson, AZ. Un bloqueo de llantas cubiertas con alquitrán y vidrio quebrado fueron colocadas en los dos carriles que van hacia el sur. En la carretera se ubicó un cartelón que declara “¡Alto a toda la Militarización! ¡La Frontera es Ilegal!” Este bloqueo es un paro temporal de la misma carretera que es usada para deportar a personas consideradas “ilegales”, al igual que es una interrupción directa del flujo de los productos y mercancía. Al interrumpir el tráfico de la I-19 hemos logrado suspender el transporte de migrantes y las ganancias que empresas como Wackenhut y Corrections Corporation of Amerikkka ganan al cumplir actos inhumanos como separar a nuestras familias. Esta mañana nosotr@s interrumpimos la privatización de la criminalización de las comunidades de color.
El Estado de Arizona sin piedad perturba y aterroriza a diario la vida ñde nuestras comunidades. La SB 1070 es otro ejemplo de cómo los migrantes y las personas de color somños criminalizadas. La acción de hoy es una declaración de resistencia a la criminalización de nuestras comunidades y la militarización de tierras indígenas.
Ni la SB 1070, ni el desplegue de tropas de la Guardia Nacional hacen nada para combatir las causas de por qué la gente emigra. Las guerras y las pólizas económicas de los EE.UU. han desplazado y empobrecido a millones de personas en todo el mundo. Pólizas impulsadas por ganancias, como el Tratado de Libre Comercio, causan la pobreza. Estas políticas y leyes no sólo consumen y explotan la tierra y la gente, pero también nos desplazan de nuestros hogares, obligándonos a emigrar para sobrevivir. Si los políticos tuvieran la seriedad de frenar la "inmigración ilegal", pondrían fin a su sistema económico que empobrece al mundo y acabarían con sus invasiones militares en el extranjero.
Queremos poner un fin a la militarización de tierras indígenas, redadas, deportaciones, los ataques a los estudios étnicos, la violencia contra las mujeres y gente gay, lesbiana, bisexual, transgenero, la expansión de las cárceles, los centros de detención, el imperio, el muro fronterizo y el genocidio en la frontera entre Arizona y Sonora, que ha cobrado la vida de más de 153 personas durante los primeros ocho meses de este año fiscal. Hoy interrumpimos el flujo del tráfico de Arizona para llamar a la atención los siguientes puntos:
Afirmamos nuestra dignidad y promovemos el bienestar de todas las personas. Estamos a favor de la solidaridad, la paz, la auto-determinación y la autonomía. Afirmamos el derecho de todos los pueblos del mundo a sentirse seguros y vivir libres de la opresión y libres de la violencia estatal.

Joe Arpaio's Deputies Faced Down by Anti-SB 1070 Protesters in Guadalupe

Demonstrators await the MCSO's response last night in Guadalupe

Chanting, "We will not comply," and, "Whose streets? Our streets," a group of about 70 protesters took over one of the entrances to the square-mile town of Guadalupe Wednesday night, facing down Maricopa County sheriff's deputies in a tense standoff that lasted a little over an hour.

From 11:45 p.m. till a little past 1 a.m., demonstrators blocked traffic going into or out of Guadalupe via Avenida del Yaqui, not far from Arizona Mills Mall. City buses and other vehicles were forced to turn back or take a route around the line of Guadalupe residents and other activists.

MCSO deputies, befuddled by the late night protest

The protesters said they were against the enactment of SB 1070 and opposed to the abuses of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose deputies are contracted by the town for law enforcement services.

Early Wednesday, federal Judge Susan R. Bolton enjoined the most significant provisions of SB 1070, leaving other aspects of it to take effect today, July 29. But the protesters insisted this was not enough.

"We do understand that not all of SB 1070 was passed," said Guadalupe resident Diane Sanchez-Alvarado. "But that doesn't mean it's all right. Regardless of what the law says, we're all human beings. We shouldn't be treated as something else."

"We will not comply," the theme of the event

Regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his boys in beige, who have patrolled the town for years, Sanchez-Alvarado and others complained of a litany of abuses perpetrated by the MCSO in the town, which is half Mexican-American, and half Yaqui Indian.

"We're always being harassed by him," Sanchez-Alvarado said of Arpaio. "He thinks he can do whatever he wants with us."

The postage-stamp size municipality has been the subject of numerous complaints by residents who say they are routinely harassed by MCSO officers. Guadalupanos report that deputies unnecessarily pull guns on them and enter their homes without warrants.

Guadalupe residents Veronica Vargas (left) and Diane Sanchez-Alvarado

In 2008, Arpaio conducted one of his controversial anti-immigrant sweeps of the town, terrorizing people whose families have lived in Guadalupe for generations. Relations between the MCSO and residents have been especially strained since then.

Of the sheriff's deputies, Sanchez-Alvarado stated, "They're vicious with us. They're what we would consider savages."

Savages or not, last night, Arpaio's minions seemed perplexed by the situation, and unsure of what to do.

Around eight MCSO patrol cars responded to the scene, and deputies with the MCSO's gang unit stood around being taunted by the protesters as they contemplated a response.

Andrew Sanchez, organizer of the midnight demonstration

"You're the real gang here," protesters yelled at them.

Eventually one of the deputies approached the double-line of demonstrators, some of them activists from nearby Tempe and Phoenix. Members of a local anarchist group also reinforced the crowd.

The deputy, who declined comment to reporters, asked the demonstrators to leave the street. He was met with stony silence from protesters who had locked arms in preparation for a showdown. Many had stated earlier that they were willing to be arrested.

It seemed as if the protesters and the deputies were fated to butt heads. But a little after 1 a.m., protest organizer Andrew Sanchez told the crowd that he'd spoken with the mayor of Guadalupe and that they'd made their point about MCSO police abuses and SB 1070.

Demonstrators withdrew to the sidewalks, and the deputies drove away to the cheers of those present.

"It was peaceful, it was successful, and we managed to get the cops' attention," Sanchez told me afterward. "We had said previously that we were only going to hold the street for an hour, and we did."

The MCSO was outnumbered last night, and deputies looked worried at the prospect of having to wade in to the crowd and arrest people. The issue now will be, what sort of retaliation, if any, Guadalupe residents will endure from the MCSO.

Friday, July 16, 2010

"THESE ARE THE FRONT LINES" - Community Discussion and Dialogue



CONFRONTING the racist attacks and legislation's such as SB1070
CHALLENGING the police state and racist vigilantism, and building
A NETWORK of revolutionary strategies and organization.

Come join us for an intense panel discussion with various organizations, direct action strategies, revolutionary perspectives to popularize an analysis of our common enemy and how we MUST move a movement forward TODAY with ACTION.

Panelists include:

Immortal Technique
Colectivo Tonantzin
Cop Watch Los Angeles
+ many more to be announced

Please check back for location details soon to be posted
or go to for more info.

Mark your calendar: WEDS , AUGUST 25, 2010
Support Colectivo Tonatnzin

(panel will also be broadcasted live on Raise the Fist Radio (98.5fm Watts, Lynwood, Compton, N. Long Beach, N. Carson) and streaming world wide at

Native American Tribes Say They Won't Enforce Immigration Law

Native American Tribes Say They Won't Enforce Immigration Law

Evan Wyloge, 2010

As the July 29 enforcement date for Arizona’s strict new immigration law nears, Native American tribes are charging that the law was written without considering their unique circumstance and that it will violate their sovereignty and their members’ civil rights.

Despite a request by Gov. Jan Brewer’s office to comply with the new law, Native American tribes will continue to oppose it and seek ways to avoid its implementation, said John Lewis, executive director of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, which represents 20 tribes in the state.

“Tribes have jurisdiction within their land, and state law doesn’t apply,” Lewis said. “And the law just doesn’t work in the interests of the American Indian population.”

A resolution passed by the tribal council on June 4 states that the new law would lead to disproportionate stops and detentions for tribal members, violate their sovereignty and negatively impact the tribal economy.

In their resolution, the group says long-accepted standards of tribal life would suddenly be incongruous with the new law.

Enforcement of the law would force many law officers to reach the “reasonable suspicion” of illegal status for a large portion of Native Americans, whose legal presence within the U.S. has never been in question, the resolution states.

The resolution points out that English is a second language for many tribal members. And although each tribe has different laws, members of the tribes have not been required to carry their tribal membership documents, and some don’t possess a birth certificate or proper documents.

Navajo Nation Councilman Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. said Arizona’s new law violates the civil rights of members of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the U.S. He said tribal members will be disproportionately targeted because some police might conclude that they are Hispanic.

“In a way, the immigration bill is an attempt to harass Native Americans,” Begay said. “When we are pulled over or stopped we are usually pulled over and asked for our IDs. Sometimes we do not carry those things, and perhaps at that time we will have difficulty proving we are Native American.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010



NO to continued invasions on O’odham land!

NO to environmental destruction to secure the border!

Border Security = Militarization

Transformative Justice NOT the Police State!!

NO to forced divisions between us and our brothers and sisters based

on immigration status (or anything for that matter)!

by Sum

Arizona is the site of the worst immigration legislation so far. SB 1070 (aka Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act) further criminalizes and targets undocumented immigrants- increasing fear, harassment, arrests, and sanctioning state-sponsored hate. This is only one part of a war on migrants and a larger war on people of color and the poor. This law has been a catalyst for a round of civil disobedience actions in and outside of Arizona. While higher numbers and stronger opposition by decentralized action is needed in Arizona, the struggle should not be focused solely on SB1070. Capitalism, neo-liberalism, imperialism, and state power are root causes of migration and of oppression. This bill has been in the making for hundreds of years and now is the time to expose this by taking to the streets!

We’re calling for anarchists and other anti-authoritarians making plans to participate in creative actions here in Arizona! We are interested in solidarity, creativity, broadly-focused analysis and direct action. Many folks from the RCP to ANSWER in addition to the more moderate and conservative elements of the immigrants’ rights movement are organizing and promoting their pseudo-solutions here. We are not concerned with managing the struggle or with maintaining reputations worthy of scholarships and political office. This message against borders, for freedom, and breaking down all the borders between us (gender, sexuality, race, etc.) is necessary now more than ever.

Here in Arizona, we are broadening the struggle beyond SB 1070 and just migrants’ rights (see examples of recent actions below). The immigrant rights movement has touted Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) as the answer. A big part of the CIR plan is heightened border security. Border security means militarization, which will only get worse if border security is part of CIR. The border, some of which is a constructed wall, divides O’odham land, preventing or complicating border-crossing for many members of this indigenous community. They are now required to carry passports, they get their personal belongings searched at checkpoints going back and forth from visiting family and attending gatherings, and some O’odham people have been violently threatened at gunpoint by Border Patrol.

The federal government militarizes and builds walls along the border, runs the detention centers caging hundreds of thousands of migrants, and has plans for more border security. Their intentions are not benevolent, even if some folks are “legalized” through reform. We mustn’t call for the federal government to swoop down and save Arizona or any other state facing similar legislation when they are equally part of the problem. If we limit our goals, when will all this end? The border and immigration law are illegitimate in the face of the colonization of this land.

In connecting with each other in this struggle we must also deepen our connections to our communities. Our everyday interactions can break the borders of skin privilege, class, settler privilege, and resolve conflict stemming from cultural differences as we work together.

While you are here, recognize that you are on O’odham land. Familiarize yourself with the resources below, and determine how you can take action and support indigenous resistance in Arizona. Come with courage, respect, and humility. Let’s get creative!

There is limited information about plans so far, but the bill will go into effect before we know it (July 29 pending any obstacles). There will be actions throughout the month, but July 28-30 is critical for support. Sherriff Arpaio is planning to raid the county with another “crime suppression operation” July 30th. We must keep organizing against whiteness/white supremacy promoted in the interest of capitalism and the state. We must strategize on creative solutions to demilitarize the border. Continuing in the months ahead, we will actively target icons within this system of violence, and organize for the liberation and self-determination of our communities.

Meet up in Civic Space Park July 28th 7pm 424 North Central Ave.
Please view these resources:

Check out these recent actions for an idea of what’s been going on here::

no one is free until everybody is free

“When we support each other in actions and tense situations, when we act together to protect the most vulnerable among us, when we can face the potential violence of the system in community instead of alone, we undermine fear.

When we cease complying out of fear, we force the system to actually enforce its decrees. This is costly in terms of money, materials, and the undermining of public support. We force the system to reveal the underlying violence that supports it.” – Starhawk

Need assistance with housing rideshares and participating despite ability?

Desire to give/need by providing daycare, LGBTQ solidarity, to feed the masses, medic skills, fundraising, legal assistance, wanna connect a skillshare, and whatever else you can think of-


Sunday, July 11, 2010

SB1070 in Flagstaff: Watching and worrying

The shop is dotted with religious ceramic figurines.

Next to the figurines stand popsicles with Spanish markings.

Mexican candy lines an aisle next to pinatas.

The marinated meat is some of the best for making carne asada.

Jose Melendez, owner of Mexico Lindo market on North Fourth Street, has been offering Mexican goods to customers in Flagstaff for the last 10 years.

But now, with the passage of SB1070, Melendez is worried.

"Right now, business isn't really that good," Melendez said, adding that many of his Mexican customers have either moved or are thinking of moving out of state before the new law goes into effect July 29.

"A lot of them are hopeful the new law's not going to take effect," Melendez said, adding that many are waiting to see whether comprehensive reform at the federal level takes its place.

Armed with that hope, some families are staying until the end, he added.


Across Arizona and the country, SB1070 has garnered support among a majority of residents. A recent Gallup poll determined that 51 percent of Americans who had knowledge of SB1070 supported it.

In the Hispanic community in the city, Melendez said everybody is talking about the new law going into effect. Most are worried about law enforcement officers stopping them in public for no reason at all.

Some people coming into the store have said they are afraid of driving because of the possible consequence if they are stopped, Melendez said. They have resorted to riding bicycles or walking.

"It's the main topic," Melendez added. "This law is even affecting legal residents. They don't want to go through that. I know that because a lot of them come to say 'Good bye.'"


Sheriff Bill Pribil and Police Chief Brent Cooper both stated after training protocols on the new law came out last week that they would both be emphasizing training to ensure that racial profiling does not happen.

Both agencies have begun reviewing a draft policy issued by the Arizona Police Officer Standards and Training Board and are in the process of creating their own policies on enforcing the new law.

Chief Cooper also has recently attended a community meeting at St. Pius X Catholic Church to explain in detail what officers will and will not do in enforcing the new law, according to members of the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council. The council has a mission of building "... Relational power for collective actions in the pursuit of justice and the common good. We act to strengthen family and community in solidarity with others across lines of race, class and religion," according to the NAIC website.


Maria (not her real name to protect her identity) is a customer of Melendez. She said she and her family are facing employers who are using SB1070 as a "hammer."

She said she and her husband are afraid and are making plans to leave the state because her husband has been told he must bring legal papers into work before July 29 or he will be fired. She said she and her daughter have already been fired their jobs cleaning rooms at a local motel.

Maria also said she has tried to get U.S. birth certificates for her grandchildren who were born here, but she's afraid to turn over any identification, because it is not from the U.S. The same goes for getting Social Security numbers, she said.

Her four children, now adults, were brought here when they were young and speak better English than Spanish, Maria said. Her five grandchildren know no other life.


As for the people who have already left Flagstaff, Melendez said they told him they believed they were not wanted in this state. Those people have moved to states where they believe they are wanted, or they have moved back to their country of origin.

Melendez looked around his store. Nobody was shopping mid-afternoon last week.

"As it is, I think I've lost 30 to 40 percent of my customers," Melendez said, adding that he is able to gauge the loss by the drop-off in money transfers and phone cards to Mexico.

A window sign calling for workers to strike and shoppers not to buy goods for two weeks if the law is not rescinded hung in a window at Melendez's market.

"I don't know if that can be done," Melendez said.

Most families in Flagstaff wouldn't be able to afford a two-week strike, Melendez said. Down south in Maricopa and Pima counties, such an effort might have more legs.

"But it would be an idea to show how much buying power and taxes are generated by the buying community," Melendez added.

If people are going to lose their jobs and get deported anyway, "they might as well do something about it," he said.


Melendez said he will try to stick it out to the very end, even though he is sure he will lose even more customers. Most of his goods are Mexican, and few Anglos come into the store to shop.

"If I can't pay my bills, I'll have to close my store down," he said, adding that if he has to close, he won't be able to pay his mortgage and might have to receive public assistance.

"I've always helped the economy, but if I lose my business, I won't be helping the economy anymore," he said. And job-hunting will be difficult for him at age 55.

As for the furor over the issue and people staunchly opposed to offering any kind of citizenship to illegal immigrants already here, Melendez said, "They are on the other side of the fence and have never been on this side of the fence."

Melendez was 10 years old when he came to the United States with his parents in 1960. His father had been born in Bisbee. When younger, Melendez did a stint in the U.S. Navy.

"All my brothers were in the service," Melendez said. "So we have all served this country. But we have always been proud of our Mexican heritage."


Melendez said he and his brothers are people with their feet in two worlds -- Mexico and the United States. Some people do not understand his and his family's struggles.

"If they knew how hard it is, they might ask the government to help more," Melendez said.

As for the imminent enforcement of the law, Melendez said he's frustrated.

"I'm trying everything I can to defeat this law," Melendez said, adding that 99 percent of the people who come to the United States illegally come to work hard for a better life when they return home.

Larry Hendricks can be reached at 556-2262 or

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Norway: Lier asylum centre in Buskerud burnt to the ground


8 July 2010 - Police have arrested 23 people on suspicion of arson after last night’s fire that destroyed Lier asylum centre in Buskerud

The fire started in three separate buildings that were far apart almost simultaneously, and preliminary investigations show traces of inflammable liquids.

Inmates already knew what was going to happen, as several refugees had packed their belongings, according to VG.

Jan Erik Skretteberg, regional director of SOS Rasisme, says he can understand why the fire was started, claiming there are many frustrated people who don’t get enough food or vitamins. There isn’t enough hot water in the showers, and a complete lack of mental health services.

“Several residents have warned previously it was only a matter of time before someone either harms of kills himself because of conditions at the institution. Not only do they live under severe mental pressure, but living conditions at the centres are also not fit for human beings,” he says.
Trouble at both the Lier, as well as Fagerli asylum centre in Nannestad in Akerhus municipality started early yesterday morning. Rioters destroyed fixtures and fittings, broke windows, and started smaller fires. Both facilities are now uninhabitable.

The centres house refugees who are awaiting deportation, after their asylum applications have been a final rejection. Some have been living there for four years.

Denver: Community Members Remember Those Recently Killed on the Border and Fight for Migrant Justice

From Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Each month DABC members join with others from the community in a vigil outside the Aurora ICE Detention Center. This month’s vigil took place after several murders committed by the Border Patrol in recent months, including that of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca. Authorities originally claimed that the agent shot and killed Sergio only after being “assaulted” by rocks, but video evidence later surfaced that Sergio was not throwing rocks and actually ran away. (Sidenote: there are some kids throwing rocks in the video and the people looking on are heard to say “How stupid! They’re throwing rocks.” Even if they were throwing rocks, shooting someone in the head is a disproportionate response). Earlier in the month several Border Patrol agents beat and tasered a handcuffed Anastacio Hernandez Rojas to death in what the San Diego coroner ruled a homicide. Mr. Rojas was picked up by Border Patrol agents as he was trying to re-enter the US and rejoin his wife and 5 children.

Sergio’s death is just one of the 17 people who have died at the hands of the Border Patrol in the past few 6 months, twice as many people as in the last 2 years combined. This is a direct result of the increased repression waged upon migrants since Obama has taken office. In his first year as president, 387,790 immigrants were deported, an increase of more than 60% from Bush’s last year in office.

So, this vigil was an especially powerful one. We gathered in a circle for an opening prayer by United Methodist Pastor Peg Newell and then heard from El Frente de Lucha member Alonzo Barron who described the horrifying events that lead to Sergio’s murder. K followed with a passionate speech on ending detention and standing together to seek out justice.

Coffins were placed in the center of the circle representing those who have died on the border. People then placed flowers on the caskets. For each flower they received a piece of paper with a person’s name and cause of death. The white paper represented the 111 deaths in immigrant detention from 2003 to May 2010. The colored pieces of paper represented the 153 deaths on the Arizona-Mexico border alone from October 2009 to the present.

After remembering those killed on the border, we walked up to the detention center itself for a loud and festive denunciation of the detention system. We chanted, we shouted and we even sang the classic Ranchera song Cielito Lindo!

These monthly vigils are an imporant part of the broader resistance that needs to be taken to the detention system. It provides a visible opposition to the center which is seen by the general public, detention center officials and the detained themselves. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people who share the same vision of a world where no one is illegal. People are always coming in from Denver, so if you need a ride you can always email us or contact Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee at

SB1070: Will Be Stopped, but Worse Will Come from Feds

from Chaparral respects no borders

Here's my prediction about SB1070. It may or may not go into effect on July 29th, but I think it will be stopped in some way, probably by the federal government. Then the federal government will come up with some Comprehensive Immigration Reform that is as bad or worse than SB1070, but not as blatantly horrible. It will provide a few crumbs for certain folks- perhaps to buy off the some of ones with the most capacity to build resistance, but it will involve more border security and attrition through enforcement (with a new gentler formula). We are also possibly going to see a guest worker program and perhaps some sort of id that involves biometrics.

After Prop 187 in California passed it was found to be unconstitutional. Yet it was important historically because it set things in motion. In particular, the federal government passed welfare reform that instituted restrictions on welfare to immigrants that mirrored some of prop 187.

The excerpts at the end of this post, from Border lines blog discuss the reasons the federal approach to immigration is not likely to be much different from AZ's.

This is why I say This is bigger than SB1070. We have people coming to Arizona from out of town, doing this Arizona Freedom Summer (beware the RCP) and thirty actions in thirty days sorts of things, but need to be clear that SB 1070 is not the main issue here. People keep voting for Sheriff Joe and racist legislation- there need to be some efforts to change minds and/or undermine the strength of racism here. As I've mentioned before, if we don't look beyond the pieces of legislation and the bad sheriffs and the raids, the economic situation that so many face is overlooked. We also have a criminal "justice" system that seeks to criminalize people they see as a problem- particularly people of color, whether immigrants or not. In seeking to move immigration reform along, some folks think it's okay to further militarize the border even when it already harms the communities such as the O'odham down at the border.

For more reading on these topics (especially if you're new to these issues in AZ), see This is Bigger than SB 1070. Whether or not my prediction comes true, this is still bigger than the latest law. It was too big before.

From Border Lines blog:
It’s likely that SB 1070 will be judged, in whole or in part, as unconstitutional and will never be fully implemented. Even so the Arizona law marks another step forward in the consolidation of the attrition through enforcement strategy, just as its Legal Workers Act of 2008, which the courts have upheld, signaled the deepening dimensions of immigration law enforcement...

The Arizona law highlights a deepening conundrum for the federal government. By no means is DHS opposed on principle to having local law enforcement join in immigration enforcement. But it does insist that such cooperation be on the terms it sets. Having opened the door to federal-local cooperation, DHS is finding it hard to control the eagerness of localities to join in the immigrant crackdown...

With its Support Local Law Enforcement Act, Arizona not only adopted the “attrition through enforcement’ framework of the restrictionist institutes. It also adapted parts of the federal playbook for immigration enforcement: identifying new ways to increase what DHS calls “law enforcement partnerships” and extending the federal government’s own focus on the expanding category of “criminal aliens.”

Rather than waiting for DHS to reach out and expand its own federal-local collaborative programs, Arizona politicians have asserted the state’s right to enforce existing federal immigration laws. In the view of the supporters of the new law, the main problem they are attempting to address is not some inadequacy in federal immigration law. Rather it’s the failure of the federal agencies to adequately enforce the law...

The federal government has not explicitly endorsed ["attrition through enforcement"], but its actions are closely attuned with this restrictionist agenda.

Even as the White House and DHS continued to insist that only a CIR strategy will fix the broken immigration system, it has systematically moved to make it increasingly difficult for unauthorized immigrants (illegal border crossers and those overstaying their visas) and for legal immigrants who have violated criminal laws (mostly drug use) to live and work in the country. At the same time, DHS has steadily strengthened border control through increased checkpoints, increased agents, and increased border-control infrastructure...

The Obama administration has also proved an ardent advocate of increased federal-local cooperation in immigration enforcement. Among other things, it has strongly supported collaborative programs initiated by the Bush administration such as Operation Community Shield, Criminal Alien Program, Fugitive Operation Teams, Operation Stonegarden, Border Enforcement Security Taskforces (BEST), and the 287(g) program – all of which involve local police and sheriff deputies in the enforcement of immigration law.

In addition, the Obama administration has consolidated and promoted the Secure Communities program, which was developed under DHS Secretary Chertoff as a pilot project to encourage and facilitate the checking of the immigration status of all those arrested by local law enforcement. Secure Communities is advancing rapidly under Secretary Napolitano, who has prioritized the detention and removal of all those DHS and the Justice Department identity as “criminal aliens.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the DHS agency responsible for immigration investigations and interior enforcement, has a special program to promote what its calls “law enforcement partnerships.” ICE Access (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) “provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to team up with ICE to combat specific challenges in their communities.”

Established in 2007, ICE Access underscores the increasing outreach of DHS to local law enforcement officials in immigration and other homeland security matters. The program supports “a multi-agency/multi/authority approach that encompasses federal, state, and local resources, skills, and expertise.”