Arizona, Stop Jailing the Innocent: Repeal Proposition 100

  • By: Susan V
  • Target: Arizona Legislature

Briseira Torres was held without bond for over four months in a Phoenix jail after the DA decided she was not who she is - an American citizen and single mother who broke no law.

Torres is likely a victim of the private prison industry’s push to meet quotas, often targeting anyone of Latino ancestry. Also behind her plight is what Phoenix Times’ Stephen Lemons calls “nativism”- the “plague of hate” that led to Proposition 100.

Trampling on a legacy of Constitutional rights, Prop 100 denies bail to anyone presumed to be in the country illegally. As a result, Torres was kept from her daughter and lost her home.

She was released last week. The DA dismissed the charges after her attorneys presented documents proving her citizenship, including her birth certificate, that all parties involved had access to from the very beginning.

Lemons says all who voted for Prop 100 supported a “mockery of due process” that puts Arizona to shame.

Tell Arizona to repeal Proposition 100.

We, the undersigned, agree with Lemons that there must be a “plague of hate” engulfing Arizona for the state to condone a law that would treat someone like it did Briseira Torres.

As Lemons’explains, because of Prop 100 “someone accused of forgery is treated the same way, bail-wise, as Colorado mass murder suspect James Holmes.”

Any law that would lead prosecutors to aggressively go after a 31-year-old single mother, simply on the suspicion of forging her driver’s license, and to the point where officials would intentionally withhold documents that could have cleared her immediately, should be repealed.

Furthermore, the state should be examining how the “nativism” Lemon’s refers to is being further exploited by the very lucrative private prison industry in Arizona. As some states are decriminalizing non-violent offenses and cutting down on their prison population, private companies like CCA and GEO are exploiting immigrants as a backup plan for meeting their quotas. They’ve invested $45 million in donations and lobbying to get the backing from states and officials they need to help keep their prisons full and profitable, passing on profits to towns like Florence, Arizona.

Reveles, a Pinal County immigration reform advocate, says he "has watched the detention system grow right alongside the heated rhetoric around immigration policy in his home state. The current stalemate over immigration reform has provided a perfect climate for businesses and politicians to thrive -- "a reason for them to have a broken-down immigration system," he says.

"You build a strong image of fear of these Mexican immigrants, which creates a moral justification for imprisoning them, and at the same time brings in lots of money," Reveles says. "The politicians are not motivated to fix the immigration system. On the contrary, they're benefiting from it politically and economically."

Proposition 100 is just one tool officials use to support this rotten system that unfairly imprisons immigrants and treats all Latinos with suspicion.

Lemons’ says it well: “…the wave of nativism that made Prop 100 law bathes all those who voted for and supported this mockery of due process in a sea of shame. History will not treat these Arizonans well."

In addition to reforming your system of incarceration, we request that you repeal Proposition 100.

Thank you for your time

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