Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon is trying to turn up the Heat on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio concerning immigration by sending a letter to the US Attorney General accusing the Sheriff of racial profiling and asking the media to follow Arpaio. Arpaio has been vigourously upholding state illegal immigration laws, and this has led to a major battle over illegal immigration in Arizona. At first, most of the resistance was from local groups, but employer sanction laws have undercut the ability of organizations to conduct public protests.
Now the battle has become political, although it appears to be an uphill battle for pro-illegal immigration groups. For example, the Sheriff’s office conducted an investigation into the charges made by mayor Gordon, and also sent a report to the US Attorney’s Office denying the allegations along with their findings. And on July 29, three drop houses for illegal immigrants were raided–one with 50 people in it. And Mayor Gordon is facing a small but determined recall effort. A few weeks ago, a drug dealer was killed in Phoenix by a group of men from Mexico, one of which claimed having received military training in Mexico. The man also claimed they were planning on ambushing the police but ran short on ammunition.
All of this has led to a very public battle over illegal aliens with minority groups complaining that the policies Arpaio is following, while Arpaio takes a different view of his policy. "These demonstrators and activists say the same thing over and over again," Arpaio said. "The bottom line is they don’t want me to enforce the immigration laws. . . . Well, I am not stopping what I am doing because (of) what they are saying. No way."
One result of the controversy is that Mayor Gordon is facing a vocal and well-organized recall movement. They have a web presence at http://www.recallmayorgordon.com/. The recall movement is an indication that the immigration movement has moved beyond political bickering and into the public. At the beginning of the year, a law took effect in Arizona that heavily penalizes employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.