The Best Case Against Arizona’s #Immigration Law: The Experience of Greater Phoenix. #hispanic #latino

(The Atlantic) Can local police officers be trusted to target illegal immigrants without engaging in racial profiling? Will the deportation of illegal immigrants save taxpayer money? Is enforcement at the city or county level a prudent use of local resources?

The answers to these questions could help determine how long Arizona’s new immigration law lasts, and whether other states or cities adopt a similar approach. But strangely, public debate on this matter all but ignores the fact that the biggest metropolitan area in Arizona has been experimenting with aggressive local enforcement of immigration law for almost half of the last decade.

Maricopa County counts 3,954,598 residents, its seat is Phoenix, and its borders encompass more than half of the state’s residents. Its Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, is internationally known for his aggressive tactics against illegal immigrants, and his department has run a human smuggling unit since 2006. Department regulations were also long ago rewritten to include immigration work in the regular duties of deputies. Extensive raids target Latino neighborhoods, and as of July 2009, The New Yorker reported that the department claims it has arrested 30,000 illegal immigrants, thanks in part to a federal program that allows local officers to be trained by the Department of Homeland Security, and afterward to act as immigration enforcement. Sheriff Arpaio’s department has more officers trained in that program than any other jurisdiction in America.

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