Friday, October 16, 2009

FAIR Lies Blow up in Arpaio's Face

The anti-immigrant movement is known for its lies used to convince the general public that immigrants are a problem. I figured at some point an official of some sort would take one of the lies at face value, such as the made up statistic about how many americans get killed by undocumented immigrants. You gotta love it that this official ended up being Sheriff Arpaio.

Sheriff Joe's bungle reveals that he wants to enforce immigration law- he says its his duty- yet he doesn't even know the law. He has to have someone find some fake law on an anti-immigrant website. Clearly his sense of duty is not what he makes it out to be- it is a political position he has chosen to take.

Arpaio's 287(g) agreement with DHS has expired as of midnight last night. He has said that he still has the authority to do what he has been doing for a couple years: having the trained deputies ask about immigration status during stops and handling suspected undocumented immigrants until they end up in ICE custody. Specifically, his officers do saturated patrols often called "sweeps" in certain areas where many latinos reside, during which people will get pulled over for minor traffic violations or even made-up crimes and asked about their immigration status. As I write this, there is a sweep going on way out in Surprise today- a way of flipping the bird at the federal government and all those hoping that the end of 287(g) would mean the end of these sweeps.

The Feathered Bastard reported on the fake law that Arpaio was citing:
In Joe Arpaio's press conference last week, and since then on several news shows, the sheriff has insisted there is a law in the federal code that allows him to continue his anti-immigrant sweeps without his 287(g) field authority. This is the power stripped from him recently by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, while leaving his jails agreement in limbo.

Indeed, during that press conference, when asked what federal law allowed him to continue the sweeps, he told a reporter, "I'll give you the section, I'll even give you a copy of it, if you want." Reporters were then given handouts with bogus and misleading information, apparently copied -- in part -- from extremist nativist Web sites.
Accompanying the fake law was some additional text, and interpretation of the law that was made to look like part of the law. The Feathered Bastard wrote that "the text seems to be from a document on the Web site of the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, a nativist organization in Darien, Connecticut, which refers to an illegal immigration "invasion" and has "Welcome to MexAmerica" on its home page. The online doc itself says it was prepared by another anti-illegal group, Americans for Legal Immigration". The Arizona Republic says that "the interpretation actually originated on the Federation for American Immigration Reform Web site".

Further, they report:
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for FAIR, verified that the language cited in Arpaio's document originated from a legal interpretation the group published in 1999.

The Arpaio document cites a provision of Title 8 of the federal code followed by language that says "state and local law-enforcement officials have the general power to investigate and arrest violators of federal immigration statutes without prior INS knowledge or approval, as long as they are authorized to do so by state law."

It also states that "evasive, nervous, or erratic behavior; dress or speech indicating foreign citizenship; and presence in an area known to contain a concentration of illegal aliens" can be used to constitute reasonable suspicions someone is in the country illegally.
Arpaio discussed this alleged law and the characteristics that indicate that someone might be "illegal" on various national television shows such as the Glenn Beck show (the law is discussed at about 4 minutes in on this video).

Despite the fact that he also continues to insist that he doesn't need the federal law to enable him to make arrests of undocumented immigrants (because he can enforce state law such as the human smuggling law which he also uses to get migrants charged with conspiracy) his press people have acknowledged that the law he was citing was not actually real, and is now saying that a federal harboring law gives him the authority to enforce immigration law. The law enables Arpaio's officers to make arrests in cases in which someone is suspected of harboring undocumented immigrants. This is still pretty limiting and certainly doesn't allow officers to pull people over for cracked windshields to check their immigration status.

The whole thing is pretty funny considering that FAIR has somehow maintained a fairly good reputation and political position as part of the anti-immigrant movement, despite the fact that they have been linked to various hate groups and are in fact called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

This also reminds me of the story i covered in OOPS! Racist AZ politician "accidently" sent out article from National Alliance.

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