Joe Arpaio is a Criminal
Those opposed to immigrants tend to dehumanize them so that they can demonize them by labeling with various labels. It is far easier to hate someone when you demonize them beforehand. Undocumented immigrants are especially singled out for dehumanizing labeling. Calling for the expulsion of people from a country is much easier if those to be excluded are labelled as criminals, or worse. The nation’s nativists use the criminal label as a catchall for anyone they deem unworthy of being in the country. Donald Trump did this when he labelled Mexicans, like me, as “rapists”.
I have been told numerous times that Trump’s use of “rapists” did not mean me, or other legal immigrants or that he did not meal “all” Mexicans. Nonetheless, his words were clear to me.
Self-styled “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio is the personification of the anti-immigrant government official that demonizes immigrants for political purposes. As the Maricopa County sheriff in Arizona, Arpaio carried the torch for the country’s anti-immigrant proponents. Arpaio demonized immigrants as a scourge to the country. Arpaio crusaded on immigration enforcement by arresting as many immigrants as he could assuming that any immigrant that did not have papers was a “criminal”.
The problem is that many undocumented immigrants are not “criminals” because of not having the proper documents to be in the country. The United States federal law does not have a criminal statue for being in the country past the expiration of travel visas or without immigration papers. Federal law, which is the only legal authority over immigrants, treats people without papers to be in the country as a civil matter.
The federal law for those in the country without papers only allows for the civil deportation of them. Being in the United States without papers does not become a criminal matter until after an individual is deported and told not to comeback. People being deported are given an admonition that if they return they will be subject to criminal charges. As such, first-time undocumented immigrants only face one penalty, a civil deportation from the country. That is the law until Congress decides to change it.
It is as simple as that.
However, anti-immigrants use the “criminal” label to demonize undocumented immigrants to make it more palatable to mass deport them as undesirable people.
Joe Arpaio labelled many as “criminals” although they weren’t criminals.
As they say, what goes around comes around…
On July 31, 2017, Joe Arpaio became a convicted criminal.
It is fitting to note that Arpaio was convicted defying a court order ordering Arpaio to stop “detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.”
How’s that for justice?
The individual that demonized and arrested undocumented immigrants was himself convicted of a crime.
The Court, understanding that immigration laws are too complicated for simply enforcing them under “no papers” legislation, had ordered Joe Arpaio and his department to stop arresting people simply for not having papers. It is not illegal to be in the country without papers under federal law and thus the sheriff did not have the authority to arrest them on suspicion of being in the country without papers.
The only law enforcement that has the training to make that determination and thus arrest, or detain an immigrant are federal immigration officers. Arpaio refused to accept the court order because it would expose his political duplicity and thus, today, he is a convicted criminal.
Justice has been served much to the chagrin of some reading this post today.