by Sharada Jambulapati, ’12
Three years of investigation by the Department of Justice have finally proven what most people knew about America’s toughest sheriff. In a 22-page report, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found to have racially profiled Latinos, denied adequate care to inmates, and mismanaged law enforcement training. In response to the evidence, Arpaio simply stated, “we are proud of the work we have done to fight illegal immigration.”
In immigration debates, politicians are quick to use the term illegal when justifying harsh, contradictory measures that compromise civil liberties. The polarizing word generates a criminal stereotype and erroneously implies that an immigrant constantly breaks the law. Continued use of isolating words has had an apparent effect on public opinion. In a 2000 national survey, 73% of Americans believed that immigrants were linked to increased crime.
However, the societal perceptions of immigrants do not reflect the actual data regarding immigration and crime correlations. Continue reading