By Dennis Gilman
Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
On July 16, the news was already covering the high profile deportation cases of Carlos and Sandra Figueroa and how ICE would not be deporting them. Their 9 year old daughter, Katherine, made national news in 2009 with her YouTube plea to free her parents. They were arrested in a worksite raid by Sheriff Arpaio and charged with felonies for working at the same car wash for over ten years.
The documentary, Two Americans, which covers the Figueroa’s and Arpaio, was gaining national attention. On the morning of July 17, the Figueroa’s story was front page news in the New York Times and The Arizona Republic.
Arpaio has always been predictable, vengeful and hungry for media. That very day he raided two popular valley restaurants in retaliation to the horrible press he was receiving. While he claimed the raids on Uncle Sam’s Restaurants were the result of a nine month investigation of 70 people to be arrested for forgery and ID theft, he arrested only 9. Fox 10 even announced that he was looking for 120 workers-all hired this year. Fox 10’s report failed to be fair, balanced or even slightly true. Arpaio claims he has actual “victims” that suffered because of these bus-persons, dishwashers and cooks arrested. In the past 72 raids, he has failed to produce even one victim. These raids have cost the tax payers millions and failed to protect even one citizen against real ID theft.
After spending 8 days in jail, all charges were dropped on 5 of the 9 workers arrested but they suffered Arpaio’s jails and loss of income as a result of these false arrests.
Video includes interviews with two men, one worked at Uncle Sam’s Restaurant of 8 years, the other 12 years. Stephen Lemons, reporter for Phoenix New Times conducted the interviews.
Arpaio continues to twist the truth about ID theft and forgery. His followers, mostly white and elderly, are convinced the Sheriff is protecting them against ID theft by arresting workers instead of real criminals. Maricopa County, Arizona is still the only place where these charges are brought and businesses are raided.
To this date, no employer has ever been arrested despite mounting evidence against several. The Sheriff has conducted 73 of these raids.
The mainstream media continues to ignore the difference between real ID theft and Arpaio’s racially motivated worksite raids. Arpaio is also walking a thin line as he has been ordered by a federal judge to end all immigration enforcement. He uses interpretations of State law to continue. Bill Montgomery, the county attorney who benefitted from over half a million dollars in campaign support from Arpaio continues to do his dirty work and over-charge workers to please racist tea party supporters.