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Joe Arpaio Launches "Air Posse" to Hunt Immigrants at Border

Monday, 04 April 2011 08:40 By Julianne Hing, Color Lines | Report
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Arizona might be giving the anti-immigrant attacks a rest in its legislature, but out on the streets not much has changed. On Tuesday Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced the launch of “Operation Desert Sky,” an airborne version of his controversial crime sweeps. This time he wants to send 30 pilots into the air with M-16s and a .50-caliber machine gun so they can intercept people trying to cross the border.

“We’re going to use our automatic weapons if we have to, and I’m tired of my deputies having to chase these people and I’m sure the air posse will be able to spot these guys running as they do constantly from us,” Arpaio told Phoenix’s KSAZ.

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Arpaio said Operation Desert Sky won’t distract normal law enforcement work because it will be staffed by citizen vigilantes and deputies from human smuggling and drug enforcement units.

Last week Arpaio took heat from locals for palling around with action star Steven Seagal and greenlighting an estimated $10,000 in equipment and staff time be used to go investigate a suspected cockfighting ring. Seagal rolled up to the suspect’s home in a tank, and crashed through the front wall of the man’s home.

Julianne Hing

Julianne Hing is a reporter and blogger for Colorines.com covering immigration, education, criminal justice, and occasionally fashion and pop culture. In 2009 Julianne was the recipient of USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism fellowship, which funded a reporting project on the impacts of criminal deportation on immigrant families. She has covered police brutality issues from Oakland to New Orleans and in the summer of 2010 reported for Colorlines from the courtroom where Oscar Grant's killer, BART cop Johannes Mehserle, faced trial. Julianne became politically active in high school, and started organizing students in college around access and affordability issues. She earned her B.A. in social ecology at the University of California, Irvine, where she edited Jaded magazine, named 2007 Publication of the Year by Campus Progress. Julianne’s writing has appeared on AlterNet, Truthout, Hyphen Magazine's blog, The American Prospect's blog TAPPED and Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog at The Atlantic, Racialicious, The Root and New America Media. Julianne tweets at @juliannehing.

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Joe Arpaio Launches "Air Posse" to Hunt Immigrants at Border

Monday, 04 April 2011 08:40 By Julianne Hing, Color Lines | Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Arizona might be giving the anti-immigrant attacks a rest in its legislature, but out on the streets not much has changed. On Tuesday Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced the launch of “Operation Desert Sky,” an airborne version of his controversial crime sweeps. This time he wants to send 30 pilots into the air with M-16s and a .50-caliber machine gun so they can intercept people trying to cross the border.

“We’re going to use our automatic weapons if we have to, and I’m tired of my deputies having to chase these people and I’m sure the air posse will be able to spot these guys running as they do constantly from us,” Arpaio told Phoenix’s KSAZ.

Don’t miss a beat - get Truthout Daily Email Updates. Click here to sign up for free.

Arpaio said Operation Desert Sky won’t distract normal law enforcement work because it will be staffed by citizen vigilantes and deputies from human smuggling and drug enforcement units.

Last week Arpaio took heat from locals for palling around with action star Steven Seagal and greenlighting an estimated $10,000 in equipment and staff time be used to go investigate a suspected cockfighting ring. Seagal rolled up to the suspect’s home in a tank, and crashed through the front wall of the man’s home.

Julianne Hing

Julianne Hing is a reporter and blogger for Colorines.com covering immigration, education, criminal justice, and occasionally fashion and pop culture. In 2009 Julianne was the recipient of USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism fellowship, which funded a reporting project on the impacts of criminal deportation on immigrant families. She has covered police brutality issues from Oakland to New Orleans and in the summer of 2010 reported for Colorlines from the courtroom where Oscar Grant's killer, BART cop Johannes Mehserle, faced trial. Julianne became politically active in high school, and started organizing students in college around access and affordability issues. She earned her B.A. in social ecology at the University of California, Irvine, where she edited Jaded magazine, named 2007 Publication of the Year by Campus Progress. Julianne’s writing has appeared on AlterNet, Truthout, Hyphen Magazine's blog, The American Prospect's blog TAPPED and Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog at The Atlantic, Racialicious, The Root and New America Media. Julianne tweets at @juliannehing.

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