This time Arpaio's immigration sweep involves targeting folks who pirate and sell movies and CDs. Yesterday, the MCSO surrounded an outdoor swap meet called the Mercado. There were several undercover officers, in addition to uniformed ones who apparently went into the surrounding area of south Phoenix to serve warrants, and probably to pull people over for cracked windshields and other similar minor offenses.
Some folks went out to document the sweep, as happens at these sorts of events. I heard through the grapevine that the police took someone's camera and erased the footage. I also heard that some others got detained for observing as well.
Six of the 7 who were arrested (I thought i heard more were arrested) were undocumented, and 2 were under 18 years of age.
The "crime sweep" is said to continue today, but I haven't heard anything yet from folks who are out there.
Arpaio finds any way to enforce federal immigration law by using state laws. He has been arresting folks under the human smuggling law, charging them with conspiracy if they admit to paying someone to smuggle them. The MCSO has also gone after corn vendors, and other such folks who might have a harder time maintaining a legal business.
Of course, when you are criminalized in one way, many of the things you end up doing also tend to be against or outside of the law. I believe that many citizens actually believe that there isn't all that much wrong with crossing a border. Therefore the police are forced to portray migrants as criminals in other ways- and in some cases they are, many times due to limited finances and opportunities with the added incentive brought by lucrative underground markets. But while this is a reality, there have been plenty of studies that show that migrants actually participate in much less crime than citizens do, most likely so they can just live their lives whenever possible, by avoiding trouble. Unfortunately, the MCSO and others are intent on targeting migrants, and so they find areas in which being an undocumented migrants overlaps with criminal activity, such as pirating films and CDs.
Now, we all know that the folks with the privilege to pirate films and music in the privacy of their own homes are not treated with quite the same animosity. I've made the point before that illegal downloaders are not called "illegals" while illegal border crossers are. Clearly there is a political intent to paint certain people criminals while others, despite being targeted by law enforcement, are treated more like white collar criminals.
Update:Here is a video of some folks getting detained by MCSO during the sweep: Maricopa County Sheriff Office Deputy Illegally Detains Attorney
Here's another video of someone being harassed for taping: MCSO Harassing Me at Gran Mercado
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