Blog of Rights

Victoria
Lopez

Arizona's Anti-immigrant Law Does Not Reflect Our Common Values

By Victoria Lopez, ACLU of Arizona at 12:41pm
(Originally posted at the MomsRising.org blog carnival on immigration policy and its impact on children, mothers and families.)
We've Only Just Begun: Standing up for the Rights of All in Arizona

We've Only Just Begun: Standing up for the Rights of All in Arizona

By Victoria Lopez, ACLU of Arizona at 4:24pm

The highest court in the land has had its say. Politicians and media pundits have had their news cycle. And in Arizona, we’re back to where this all begins and ends—where the resolve of people across the state will again be tested in the…

Immigrant Voices in Arizona: Power and Perseverance in the Face of Abuse

By Victoria Lopez, ACLU of Arizona at 6:10pm

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visited Arizona earlier this week to document cases of abuse endured by former Maricopa County and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees and to meet with advocates as part of their investigation of U.S. immigration detention and enforcement programs. After being denied access to the Maricopa County jails by Sheriff Joe Arpaio (whose activities have been chronicled in a recent report (PDF) by the ACLU and the Rights Working Group), the commission spent its first morning in Phoenix at the Southwest Key facility for unaccompanied minors. On Tuesday, representatives of the commission traveled to Florence to tour the Pinal County Jail and ICE Service Processing Center. There, they also met with ICE officials and spoke to detainees.

On Monday afternoon, advocates from Phoenix, Florence and Tucson had the opportunity to meet with commission representatives. Advocates spoke passionately about the issues, the clients and the communities affected by the punitive and abusive enforcement practices throughout the state—horrible treatment of the mentally ill; the overuse of segregation in the jails; community sweeps by groups of sheriff deputies; abuses by ICE; abuses by jail officials; no appointed counsel; and separation of families.

After the meeting with advocates, the commission spoke to six people who were arrested by local law enforcement agencies in Arizona and incarcerated in the Maricopa County jails. For most, this was their first arrest and first time in jail. Each recounted their experiences of humiliation, harassment and abuse at the hands of sheriff's deputies in the jails when questioned about their immigration status. A few of these individuals also told the tale of transfer into the uncertain world of ICE detention; from the cramped and squalid conditions of the holding cells in downtown Phoenix, to the intake unit of the Florence Service Processing Center and the pods of the nearby Eloy Detention Center.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visited Arizona earlier this week to document cases of abuse endured by former Maricopa County and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees and to meet with advocates as part of their investigation of U.S. immigration detention and enforcement programs. After being denied access to the Maricopa County jails by Sheriff Joe Arpaio (whose activities have been chronicled in a recent report (PDF) by the ACLU and the Rights Working Group), the commission spent its first morning in Phoenix at the Southwest Key facility for unaccompanied minors. On Tuesday, representatives of the commission traveled to Florence to tour the Pinal County Jail and ICE Service Processing Center. There, they also met with ICE officials and spoke to detainees.

On Monday afternoon, advocates from Phoenix, Florence and Tucson had the opportunity to meet with commission representatives. Advocates spoke passionately about the issues, the clients and the communities affected by the punitive and abusive enforcement practices throughout the state—horrible treatment of the mentally ill; the overuse of segregation in the jails; community sweeps by groups of sheriff deputies; abuses by ICE; abuses by jail officials; no appointed counsel; and separation of families.

After the meeting with advocates, the commission spoke to six people who were arrested by local law enforcement agencies in Arizona and incarcerated in the Maricopa County jails. For most, this was their first arrest and first time in jail. Each recounted their experiences of humiliation, harassment and abuse at the hands of sheriff's deputies in the jails when questioned about their immigration status. A few of these individuals also told the tale of transfer into the uncertain world of ICE detention; from the cramped and squalid conditions of the holding cells in downtown Phoenix, to the intake unit of the Florence Service Processing Center and the pods of the nearby Eloy Detention Center.

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