The Local War on the Undocumented

“It's just crazy here.” This is what I tell people who are not from Phoenix, Arizona, the political climate surrounding immigration is like. It's hard to sum up, but having kept up fairly well with local immigration news for the past couple years, I can reflect on 2007 and the direction that things have gone. We have seen ever-increasing repression against undocumented immigrants. In some ways we saw this coming. In other ways, we have been surprised. Overall, things changed gradually enough that it wouldn't necessarily be perceived as an onslaught, though putting it into perspective by looking back at 2007 as a whole might make it hard to be seen otherwise.

Arizona has seen an increasingly unfriendly environment for undocumented immigrants, with the threat of raids, violence, and repression. Within a short time, a select number of officers from different police departments with jurisdiction in Maricopa County were trained to enforce immigration laws. Some agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were deputized as well, giving dual jurisdiction to an increasing number of officials. Immigration law began to be enforced in the jails and prisons as well. The efficiency gained by these changes to enforce immigration laws is likely part of the plan set forth by the Office of Detention and Removal, part of Homeland Security. This plan, which provides strategies to “remove all removable aliens” by 2012 is called Endgame.


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