News Clips Jan 12, 2010

Federal Grand Jury Targets ‘Tough-Guy’ Sheriff

PHOENIX, Ariz. — America’s self-proclaimed “toughest” sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing a grand jury investigation into allegations of abuse of power.

The Maricopa County sheriff has made national headlines because of his immigration sweeps on Latino neighborhoods and a pending investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into racial profiling allegations.

But that’s not the focus of the recent criminal investigation.

“Racial profiling is the least of his problems right now,” said Lydia Guzmán, president of the Somos America coalition, a civil rights group in Arizona that has filed a civil lawsuit against his office on the matter.

Hispanics may be key in March primaries

The March Democratic primaries will provide a lot of intrigue for local elections, with numerous competitive contests up and down the ballot.

The prospects of several incumbent candidates, including Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons and County Clerk John Warren, could be determined by Hispanic voters.

Advocates to protest immigration policies

Immigrants-rights advocates are planning a large-scale protest this Saturday to pressure the Obama administration to end an agreement that lets the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office check the immigration status of people booked into its jails.

Organizers say the agreement has emboldened individual police officers in the Valley to engage in racial profiling by arresting Latinos for minor crimes in order to check their immigration status. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security took away Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s power to arrest illegal immigrants under a revised agreement that still lets jail officials enforce immigration laws.

Immigration reform’s economic impact is debated

As the U.S. unemployment rate hovers at around 10 percent, a key question is emerging in the unfolding immigration reform debate: whether legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants will further erode the economy or speed its recovery. The answer is hard to pin down because of clashing conclusions in recently issued reports.

One study released Thursday and endorsed by pro-immigration groups said legalization would boost the economy. But a report issued in December by an organization that seeks tighter immigration controls said less-educated native U.S. workers will find it more difficult to land jobs if illegal foreign workers are given green cards.

N.J. legislature denies in-state tuition for illegal immigrants

TRENTON – A proposal to let illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities failed to get enough support in the Legislature last night, ending its chance of becoming law in the near future.

Sen. Ronald Rice (D., Essex), a sponsor, said he believed the plan was five votes short in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The measure was discussed in closed-door meetings, but was not put up for a vote in either the Senate or Assembly on the final day of the legislative session.

Officers ordered not to ask for immigration status

DAYTON – City police officers are now prohibited from asking the immigration status of a witness or victim of a crime in hopes it eases fears some ethnic groups have of law enforcement.

Police Chief Richard Biehl issued the executive order to his nearly 390 officers on Dec. 30 telling them, “Citizens must feel free to call for police services without fear of undue repercussions.”

Biehl’s order, aimed mostly at the Latino community, goes on to say a “Police presence within the entire community is extremely important to engender a feeling of safety and trust…”

State’s first female, Hispanic U.S. attorney

All guts, grit and glamor, Carmen Milagros Ortiz of Milton was sworn in yesterday with the double-barreled distinction of being the state’s first female and first Hispanic U.S. attorney.

And safe to say – with a star-studded welcoming that was the legal community’s equal of Academy Awards night – this successful woman had more than a few good men happy to stand behind her.

A final health-care order from the House and Senate menus

After a long legislative season and a hard fight, we’re down to the decisive final moments on health-care reform. Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will merge their bills into a single, final piece of legislation. This is, in other words, their final chance to improve the bill before passage.

Studying baseball’s other color line

Young, foreign-born Latino prospects, who are not eligible for Major League Baseball’s lucrative draft because they are not U.S. citizens, sign as free agents for thousands of dollars to play in the minors, while American prospects get hundreds of thousands.

“You can hire 10 Dominican players for the price of one American college player,” Shultz said. “That college kid [Stephen Strasburg] who signed with the Washington Nationals for millions? That deal doesn’t happen for kids coming out of Dominican baseball academies.”


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