PHOENIX – Thousands of people protesting a sweeping crackdown on illegal immigrants by an Arizona sheriff marched through Phoenix on Saturday, toting placards reading “We Are Human” and “Stop the Raids.”
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has dispatched deputies into Hispanic communities in the Phoenix area where they stop people and arrest anyone who cannot prove he or she is a legal U.S. resident.
Under a deal allowing them to enforce federal immigration laws, the deputies have arrested more than 1,500 people whom they determined were in Arizona illegally.
Latino activists and lawmakers call his program a clear case of racial profiling because only people who look Hispanic are targeted. Arpaio steadfastly denies the charge.
Earlier this month, he stirred more controversy when he marched 220 illegal immigrants in shackles and striped prison garb through Phoenix under armed guard.
“Walking people through the streets in chains, public shaming, it’s medieval,” said Veronica Perez, 32, an archeologist carrying signs reading “No Human Is Illegal” and “Stop the Raids.”
“Isn’t cruel and unusual punishment against the U.S. Constitution?” she asked.