Well it sure looks like my pro Immigration colleagues missed the boat again. As soon as I heard Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio allege that ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) was working with him on picking up the undocumented Immigrants he has been detaining, I knew there was more to the story than Arpaio was claiming.
I heard a Latino civil rights attorney on a Spanish language radio show blowing it off as just crazy rhetoric, and he further encouraged listeners to ignore the old man. He said they give him too much credit and that what he was claiming was hogwash. The cooperation between ICE and MCSO that is.
No matter how much Latino “leaders” and “activists” want to use the “just ignore Arpaio tactic”, that’s certainly not the way to deal with him. It’s best to understand the man and his tactics in order to know how to counter them or at the very least to know how to inform the unprotected Immigrant community who has zero information at their disposal and who clearly depend on their “advocates” to keep them informed. Telling the community to ignore the old man certainly is not in any way helpful to the Spanish speaking Immigrant community who utilizes radio programs and Spanish language television to get what little bits of information they can for purposes of survival. Remember Sun Tzu’s advice,
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
I had a pretty good idea how it was Arpaio was able to get ICE out to pick up the undocumented Immigrants even after President Obama had made it clear that ICE would not pick up those identified as undocumented Immigrants unless they had committed a felony.
In order to understand how Arpaio is gaming the system, you have to understand the prosecutorial tool he’s using. It’s a controversial law that was conjured up in 2005 for purposes of pursuing human traffickers. The law, A.R.S. 13-2319 is meant to target those human traffickers who make it a business to transport America’s labor force across the border and across that unforgiving desert to drop houses where they are often held for ransom until a friend or family member coughs up the additional bucks requested.
I don’t think any of us have a problem with the prosecution of human traffickers commonly referred to as “coyotes”. It’s precisely that “coyote” law, A.R.S. 13-2319 that has allowed Sheriff Joe to brag about Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s cooperation with his deputies. In the last few days Arpaio has netted over 20 undocumented Immigrants and it appears all have been picked up by ICE.
Let’s take a closer look at the method in which the “Coyote” law is being misused by Arpaio and the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. In 2006 as the law came to be applied against those being smuggled as co-conspirators, all hell broke loose. Here is an excerpt from an AZbar article:
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office interpreted the new law as creating liability
for such individuals under Arizona’s conspiracy statute, A.R.S. § 13-1003. On June
9, 2006, this interpretation was upheld by the Maricopa County Superior Court after
the defendants arrested under the statute moved for dismissal under various grounds.
The court found jurisdiction and venue were proper in Maricopa County because
overt acts in furtherance of smuggling occurred there. The court found the defendants
“may be prosecuted for conspiracy to smuggling themselves” if it is proved they
provided themselves as “human cargo” and agreed to be transported as illegal aliens.
Despite testimony from one of the bill’s sponsors that A.R.S. § 13-2319 was not
intended to be applied to the aliens who were being smuggled, such exclusionary language was not included in the statute and the legislature is presumed to have
known and intended the conspiracy statute would apply to a violation of A.R.S. § 13-
As mentioned in the article, the intent of the law as written and later confirmed by one of it’s authors former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton, was not to pursue those being smuggled, but to punish those doing the smuggling.
The inappropriate use of the law was challenged in a lawsuit by Somos America Coalition and ironically ex senator and political opportunist Kyrsten Sinema was a plaintiff in that lawsuit. Yes the same “Democratic” senator who later created an anti-Immigrant law titled SB1225 in which she hypocritically utilizes A.R.S. 13-2319 as her prosecutorial tool.
So now you know, what I know. Arpaio simply has to get a Spanish speaking investigator or officer to ask these timid undocumented immigrants if they paid a coyote to be transported. By the time they are questioned, their morale is shot, they more than likely have traveled days across a desert that takes it’s tolls in lives. Perhaps they witnessed some of their group get left behind and die next to a bush in the desert, they suffered thirst, hunger and their body has been ravaged by the elements. So when asked a basic question, “did you pay a coyote to bring you here?”, they’re quick to answer, “si señor, le page a un coyote $3,000.00 para cruzarme” Which interprets into, “yes sir, I paid a human smuggler $3,000.00 to transport me. That’s all she wrote! Joe Arpaio now has enough to charge them with conspiracy to smuggle themselves which under A.R.S. 13-2319 is a class four felony. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at Joe Arpaio’s press release outlining the details as I just articulated.
So it’s a no brainer, Obama’s recent policy change indicates ICE will not pickup undocumented Immigrants from police officers in Arizona unless they are being charged with a felony. Well, given the aforementioned information, it appears ICE will be forced to cooperate with Joe and his MCSO goons, thanks to the misuse of A.R.S. 13-2319, another piece of poorly designed legislation by Arizona’s inept Republican lawmakers.
Carlos E. Galindo is a radio talk show host & political analyst conducting radio shows in both English and Spanish on four radio stations in Arizona. Mr. Galindo is a weekly contributor to KPFK 98.7 FM Los Angeles and W60 AM Radio, Los Angeles, San Diego and has appeared on CNN, Univision and Telemundo as a political analyst. Mr. Galindo is also an Op-Ed columnist on Prensa Hispana and the Tucson Citizen in Arizona. Carlos Galindo is President and founder of the Immigrant Advocacy Foundation, Inc.