Arizona: The State of Fear

Jesse Freeston: Ecuadorian journalist and filmmaker Oscar León has been following Arizona’s particularly harsh immigration law enforcement for three years.  He has witnessed a growing fear in the state’s Latino community as 26,000 undocumented immigrants have been deported following arrest by the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. . . . Sheriff Joe Arpaio has also become famous for his jails, especially his outdoor tent city jail located in the Phoenix desert. . . .  The new section [of the tent city jail] is called Section 1070, named after SB 1070, the controversial immigration law enforcement bill that is now before the federal courts after a temporary injunction.

Oscar León: Fear is not a symptom of what’s going on here.  I think fear is the goal they wanna achieve.

Jesse Freeston: Proponents are very open about this goal.  They call the policy “attrition through enforcement.” . . .  According to León, this policy inevitably involves those in the Latino community who do have legal documents.

Oscar León: It’s almost impossible to rip the community, the illegal community, from the Hispanic community.  They are intertwined 100 percent.  And there are so many of them that you couldn’t really separate them without making a police state if you will. . .  You see in the street a blockade, and they just ask everybody for papers — they’d been doing that before.  It’s extra-legal and I think it might be even unconstitutional.  The Constitution of the United States guarantees the right of no illegal search without a probable cause, but in this case the probable cause is just the color of your skin.

Jesse Freeston: Long before SB1070, Sheriff Arpaio was under investigation for racial profiling.

Jesse Freeston is a video journalist.  This video was released by The Real News on 2 August.  The text above is an edited partial transcript of the video.

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