Arizona Sheriff Humiliates Undocumented Immigrants during Transfer; Civil Rights Groups Call for Federal Investigation

Immigrant Rights 02.11,09

On February 4, Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio humiliated 200 undocumented immigrant inmates by marching them from the Durango Jail in Phoenix to a jail facility known as “Tent City” in full view of the public and television cameras.

The inmates will be segregated into their own section of the jail’s controversial tent facility. Arpaio said in a press release that the move is necessary to provide increased security for the undocumented immigrants, who he believes are “more adept perhaps at escape.”

Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox called the inmate march a “publicity stunt,” and civil rights groups like ACORN and America’s Voice were outraged by the stunt, calling for the federal government to launch an investigation into Arpaio, who has a history of anti-immigrant behavior.

Today, a federal court ruled that a class action lawsuit charging Arpaio with illegally profiling Latinos can proceed.