Photo: Sheriff Joe Arpaio
A number of organizations in Arizona are working to get out the Hispanic vote here in Maricopa County to stop controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio from winning another term in next month’s elections.
“Now is a time when Hispanics are uniting their voices and their votes and will make their presence felt in the next elections,” Randy Parraz, representative of Citizens for a Better Arizona, told Efe.
Parraz said there are many people in Phoenix and Maricopa County, not just Hispanics, who are not happy with the job Arpaio has done as sheriff.
“We’re making a really big effort with dozens of volunteers in the streets every day going door to door in the neighborhoods, helping people with their ballots,” Parraz said.
Arpaio is known for his iron-fisted offensive against illegal immigration and his department is the only Arizona law enforcement agency that arrests the undocumented under state legislation that punishes immigrants who admit having paid a human trafficker to bring them into the country.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is also the only one in the state to constantly carry out workplace raids in order to detain undocumented immigrants under Arizona’s employer-sanctions law.
According to MCSO statistics, since this statute took effect in 2007 more than 600 undocumented migrants have been detained in those raids.
Arpaio, who boasts of being “America’s toughest sheriff,” currently faces a Justice Department lawsuit for racial profiling practices against Hispanic drivers.
At the same time he is awaiting the verdict in a similar suit brought in U.S. District Court in Phoenix by a coalition of civil organizations.
Arpaio, 70, was elected sheriff for the first time in 1992.
This movement is similar to that which Citizens for a Better Arizona carried out in 2011, which ended with the successful recall of then-state Senate president Russell Pearce.
The Republican lawmaker was the principal architect of Arizona’s harsh immigration law, SB 1070.
The Adios Arpaio group and allied organizations announced that they have registered more than 34,000 new Hispanic voters in Maricopa County.
Adios Arpaio is a movement chiefly made up of young volunteers whose families or friends have suffered the effects of the sheriff’s raids.
One of these volunteers is Sarai Rubio, a high school student in Phoenix, who told Efe that the main reason she takes part in this movement is because she knows many families who have suffered the effects of the deportations.
“I have friends who could not continue their studies because they have no papers,” Rubio said.