Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Arizona Governor?
By Joe Olvera ©, 2010
As if the nightmare in Arizona wasn’t insidious enough for undocumented immigrants, now comes the even more nightmarish rumor that racist Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio is thinking of running for Governor. Of course, it’s just a rumor, but some people are adamant about fleeing the state before this horrendous thing happens – if it does.
“150 people have already left Arizona, and, more are waiting for the right time to leave,” said Mercedes, a woman who has lived in Phoenix for 12 years. She too is thinking of booking from that desert city that has turned its anger at the economy, the political morass, and the mass of undocumented people into a hatred that is hard to dismiss. She refused to state her real name, or that of her husband or children.
“Can you imagine what would happen if Arpaio does run for Governor and wins? Poor us! I’m thinking also of packing up my family, my husband and two children, and moving somewhere else,” Mercedes said. “But, really, where can we go? It seems that other states are thinking of passing the same law and then, where will that leave us? I’m scared, as are many others. To leave here, after so many years, will be traumatic.”
Mercedes and her husband, Orlando, think that Arizona will suffer too because it will be difficult to replace the money that they feed into the Phoenix kitty. “The way I see it, with what we pay for rent, groceries, utilities, clothing, and other expenses, the state will lose about $2,000 per month. Now, multiply that by the hundreds and even the thousands of people like us who will leave Arizona, and where will that leave the state?”
Apparently, however, those who are responsible for passing the strict law, SB 1070, which criminalizes undocumented people and will allow police officers and other law enforcement officials to question anyone they stop and whom they think are in the U.S. illegally. These officers will now be able to challenge anyone’s status, check for legalization papers, and, if the person, or persons, is here illegally, they will be deported.
Protesters across the nation, however, are demanding that the law be rescinded, or they will fight back through boycotts and other means to stop the racist, anti-immigrant law from being enacted. Already, thousands upon thousands of protesters across the nation are marching in protest, challenging the new law. And, already, overzealous officers are beginning to arrest people for not having papers.
“You can see the difference already,” Mercedes said. “The stores used to be packed with people, many of them illegal, but, now, the stores are empty. You don’t see the same traffic you used to see. I can already imagine the changes that are coming.” Mercedes said that if she and her family leave Arizona, they might go to Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, or some other place where the hatred against undocumented people isn’t so intense. “But, can you imagine? We’ll have to start anew. We’ll lose everything we’ve worked so hard to accumulate, and all because of the racists.”
Gregorio, another illegal who has lived in Phoenix more than ten years, said he wouldn’t leave because he has already applied for legal residency. “I have already been approved for temporary residency, and now I must apply for permanent residency,” Gregorio said. “But, even then, if I’m stopped by immigration, will they honor the fact that my temporary residency has already been approved? Will they honor that piece of paper? I don’t know what to do, but, I’ve got to tough it out and, maybe, just maybe, I can continue living here. It’s all in the hands of God.”