Democracy now reporting from Arizona

Posted by admin on Apr 27th, 2009

Today’s show is from Arizona and series of reports on border militarization and ICE raids. Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the appointment of former federal prosecutor Alan Bersin as the new “border czar” and outlined the administration’s main priorities for the US-Mexico border.

JANET NAPOLITANO: Everything that can be done to ensure this border remains safe and secure, to assist the government of Mexico in their efforts against the cartels and the cartel violence in Mexico, Ciudad Juarez being an example of that, and we’re going to make sure that those who come and seek to violate our laws by entering our country illegally or bringing contraband into our country or those who seek going south to carry illegal guns and cash south, that they are apprehended and prosecuted.

1) Major Protest Planned Against Arizona Sheriff Famous for Parading Undocumented Prisoners

A major protest is planned against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who’s been accused of practicing discriminatory enforcement of federal immigration laws. Last month, the Justice Department opened a civil rights probe into Arpaio’s immigration enforcement policies.

“He has paraded immigrants, rather than transporting them, as is the usual custom, in buses. He has paraded them through downtown Phoenix in striped uniforms, chained, and with all of the TV around him. He touts that he conducts raids in workplaces in the middle of the night, in the morning, at any hour.”
2) Arizona Public Defender Blasts Militarization of Immigration Enforcement, Criminalization of Undocumented Workers

We speak with Isabel Garcia, co-chair of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, a grassroots organization in Tucson that fights the militarization of the Southwestern border region and discrimination and human rights abuses by federal, state and local law enforcement officials affecting US and non-US citizens alike.
3) “Humanitarian Aid Is Not a Crime”–Activist Fights Littering Charge for Leaving Water Jugs in Desert along Arizona-Mexico Border

The Sonora Desert along the Arizona-Mexico border is a deadly place. Over the past decade, nearly 2,000 men, women and children died while trying to cross the border into Arizona. Dan Millis is a volunteer with the humanitarian and advocacy organization No More Deaths. In February of 2008, he found the body of a fourteen-year-old girl from El Salvador in the southern Arizona desert. Two days later, as he was leaving gallon-sized sealed jugs of water along the same migrant trails, he was ticketed for littering by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He refused to pay the $175 fine and fought the littering ticket misdemeanor charge on the grounds that humanitarian aid is not a crime.
4) US-Mexico Border Wall Slicing through Fragile Ecosystems

We take a look at the environmental impact of the 600 miles of barricades along the US-Mexico border. The wall slices across fragile ecosystems in public lands, parks and refuges, threatening rare species and disrupting wildlife migration.  The wall went up and continues to be built in violation of 36 environmental laws including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act. That’s because of Section 102 of the REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, that gives unprecedented power to the Homeland Security Secretary to waive all local, state, and federal laws in order to build walls and roads along all U.S. borders. We speak with the chair of the Sierra Club Borderlands Team in Arizona.

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