As I wrote last month, this country’s innate sense of justice and humanity will one day revolt against the ever-harsher tactics that some states are deploying to bring undocumented workers to heel for failing to obtain the papers that Uncle Sam won’t give them. And when it comes to America’s most notorious sheriff and “illegal immigrant” baiter, Joe Arpaio, this is already happening as Lucy Steigerwald noted recently.
The Justice Department has already documented the reign of terror that Arpaio has unleashed against the Hispanic community in Arizona’s Maricopa County. And now adding to Arpaio’s woes is Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, whose case initially drew national attention to Arpaio’s tactics. She was shackled before and after delivery and managed to escape her chains during her C-section only because a detention officer took pity on her and removed her leg restraint. She has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Arpaio.
But Miriam is hardly the only pregnant undocumented worker who has been subjected to Arpaio’s tender mercies. As Stephen Lemon of the Phoenix New Times points out:
[S]uch atrocities are only new to the world outside Arizona. Inside this state, the MCSO's penchant for shackling pregnant women is well-known to Arpaio-watchers.
My colleague Valeria Fernandez documented a far worse case in a 2009 article for New Times.
In 2008, Alma Chacon was chained by her hands and feet to a hospital bed while in MCSO custody. You can read Chacon's story in full, here.
Shackling pregnant women is contrary to the policies of the Arizona Department of Corrections, ICE, the U.S. Marshal's Service, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, etc.
As Lucy noted, Arpaio has already cost Maricopa County $5 million in lawsuit settlements (with another $177 million filed by various and sundry). And Miriam's lawsuit suggests that the new year is not likely to bring him any relief.