Thursday, May 04, 2006

Calling in the Posse

So not kidding...
Maricopa County sheriff's deputies and volunteers will patrol the desert and roadways in the southwestern part of the county for illegal immigrants and arrest them under a state smuggling law, the sheriff said Wednesday.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will draw from existing deputies and members of its 3,000-member posse reserve - made up of trained, unpaid volunteers - to form the illegal immigration posse.

The 100-member illegal immigration posse will join 57 other specialized department posses that target specific crimes, including animal cruelty and prostitution.
The effort is an attempt to slow the tide of illegal immigrants into the county, Arizona's most populous, said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"It's important to send the message out to stay in Mexico and don't come roaming around here hoping you're going to get amnesty," Arpaio said. "They ought to stay cool, stay in Mexico and wait until this illegal immigration problem is solved. If they don't do that and they come to Maricopa County, they're going straight to jail."

So let me get this straight, "trained, unpaid volunteers" will be deputized starting this weekend to round-up illegal immigrants and sent to Tent City. And how will they determine the legal status of suspected violators, a.k.a. anyone who looks Mexican? Russell Pearce has an idea in the coffers of the Az State Legislature.
A leading legislative critic of illegal immigration said Monday that he's willing to shape key parts of new legislation against illegal immigration in ways intended to help get it signed by Gov. Janet Napolitano, who has threatened a veto if one possible provision is included.


Instead of expanding the trespassing law, the new legislation could achieve virtually the same purpose by directing police to ask about legal status when questioning people or taking them into custody for other reasons, Pearce said.

"I'm not asking to charge them with anything. They're already in violation of the law. I just book them and put a hold on them for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)," Pearce said.

"Once you've determined they're illegally in this country, you have authority to arrest."

Pearce noted that Georgia's governor last month signed a sweeping immigration bill that requires police to check the immigration status of people they arrest.

"I would add it to the Miranda warning (as) the last part of the Miranda warning: are you here illegally?" Pearce said, referring to the statement of rights that police officers recite to arrested suspects.

If Mr. Pearce's plan moves forward, it will more than likely be met with the veto stamp from Governor Napolitano. If/when it happens, Pearce has a backup plan that will certainly cause some fireworks in the desert come November's election. He will send all of the most dracionian provisions passed this year by the State Legislature to the ballot box. It worked for the Prop 200 fanatics in 2004 and I fear will become the wingnuts' method of choice to move the United States further down the road of a police-state.

The biggest hope that human rights and immigration reform advocates can conceive will be dependent upon Democratic Party strategerie over the next few months. An editorial from the U.S. News and World Report elaborates.

If Democrats want to take advantage of the current political climate, they can pin the donkey on the tail of Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin. His immigration legislation in the House is a punitive measure designed to treat illegals as felons. He is the symbol of GOP conservatism run amok in the House, and he's got some companions.

Democratic strategists should make clear what is going on in Congress to, for starters, the heavily Latino states of California, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and New York. GOP incumbents and candidates should be pinned down on the issue.

The opportunity this November to awaken the heretofore-sleepy Latino vote isn't likely to come around again soon.

President Bush sought to pick up more GOP support in the Latino community in the last election and was marginally successful in a few states. But those gains should evaporate if Democrats move aggressively this off year.


They won't have to look far to get campaign material. I suggest they begin by gauging the reaction between the Minutemen and the African American community. You know, part of the constituency that has traditionally been called the Democratic base.

It's time to give that part of America some attention. The base has been ignored for far too long.

Crossposted at BooMan Tribune

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