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Day Laborers Face Off Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio
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March 28, 2008, 03:08 PM
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I rarely covers the topic of day laborers since the focus is usually on how global labor arbitrage affects white collar professionals. The breaking story below is compelling enough to make an exception.

Go to the first link, and be sure to watch both videos. The one titled "Protesters outraged over Sheriff Joe Arpaio`s posse patrol" shows some video from the TV12 helicopter, and "Sheriff`s immigration operation moves north" shows on-the-spot coverage from last night.

The conflict over day laborers in Arizona has been going on for a long time. A second article is included that gives some context for the current unrest.

Note: The story takes place in the town of Cave Creek, which is in the northern Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area.

Sheriff`s immigration operation moves north Kevin Curran 12 News Mar. 27, 2008

Protesters outraged over Sheriff Joe Arpaio`s posse patrol

It was a tense evening Thursday night in north Phoenix as Sheriff Arpaio continued his intensive patrol operation aimed at locating illegal immigrants.

The sheriff said 200 deputies and armed posse volunteers fanned out in a new area for the program. They established a command post near Cave Creek and Bell Roads. Sheriff Arpaio claims he is responding to requests business owners in the area. They told the sheriff the proximity of two day labor centers is a concern.

Supporting the sheriff and deputies were members of patriotic motorcycle clubs. Arpaio expected immigrant rights groups to protest his operation and said his troops were prepared for any potential trouble between advocacy groups. "My hope is that cool heads will prevail," Arpaio said in a statement before the operation started. "There will be a zero tolerance policy in this operation toward any amount of violence or disruption of the peace."

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says he is disappointed the sheriff will not coordinate his operations with the chief and other professionals at the Phoenix police. "The sheriff is endangering the lives of police and federal undercover officers who may be tracking drug dealers and murderers."

As for the sheriff’s massive show of force, "if he’s got 200 deputies and posse members to track down people with cracked headlights, he should be going after his long list of people with warrants."

Cave Creek sued over law targeting day laborers Associated Press Mar. 25, 2008 02:10 PM

Three day laborers filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to overturn a suburb`s law prohibiting people standing on public streets from soliciting employment from occupants of cars.

The federal lawsuit alleges Cave Creek`s law passed is unconstitutional because it restricts the free speech rights of people trying to find work as day laborers.

"Cave Creek does not have the right to pick and choose who has free speech rights," said Monica Ramirez, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the group`s representing the day laborers. "The town cannot bar people from peaceably standing in public areas and expressing their availability to work."

Mayor Vincent Francia said the law was a response to concerns raised by residents over traffic being impeded by people congregating on street corners.

"The ordinance applies to everyone. It is not specific to any group," Francia said. "I have to obey it."

The environment for day laborers in Arizona has grown tougher in recent years.

Advocates for and against day labor have regularly held competing protests.

Nearly three years ago, the Legislature and governor approved a law barring local governments from putting taxpayer money into day labor centers that help illegal immigrants find work.

The Legislature approved a proposal last year that would have made it a trespassing offense for day laborers to seek work on public streets and sidewalks. Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed the bill, saying she recognizes the need to confront illegal hirings, but that the proposal was discriminatory.

The Cave Creek Town Council passed its work solicitation law in September. Days later, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose office provides police protection for Cave Creek, had officers respond to complaints that illegal immigrants were creating public safety problems near a day labor center.

Arpaio`s office is noted for its efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

The Guatemalan and two Mexicans who filed the lawsuit are in the United States legally and, as day laborers, have earned money as painters, gardeners and construction workers, Ramirez said.

Free speech rights apply to everyone, regardless of their immigration status, Ramirez said.

Ramirez said the law has made it harder for her three clients to find work and rejected suggestions that they might go elsewhere to earn money.