Joe Arpaio’s Amerika

As Mark Thornton of the Mises Institute has pointed out, the immigration “crisis” — a by-product of the Fed’s financial bubble — is subsiding. This doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll soon see an end to the police state abuses supposedly intended to “secure our borders.”

Those abuses have been tolerated and even applauded by conservatives whose idea of “freedom” is a police state within secure borders. You know, like North Korea.

To authoritarian conservatives of that ilk,  the demented thug known as Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a folk hero. Sure, people regularly die in Arpaio’s custody, his deputies can brazenly commit acts of theft in open court, he’s chummy with neo-Nazis, and his corruption has cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County plenty — but, hey, at least he’s beating back the Brown Peril, so he must be a good guy.

To people of that persuasion, the abuse inflicted by Arpaio’s uniformed goons on Alma Minerva Chacon is of no particular moment.

Several months ago, Alma was arrested on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. Nine months pregnant at the time, Alma went into labor. She was taken to the hospital with her hands and feet in shackles, despite the fact that she was not charged with a violent offense.

Arpaio’s deputies refused repeated requests that the mother be freed long enough to deliver her child, so Alma gave birth to a baby girl while shackled to her bed. She wasn’t permitted the rudimentary dignity of going to the bathroom without her restraints.

After the child arrived, deputies refused even to let Alma hold the newborn. They also threatened to seize the infant and take her into state custody unless someone came to claim her within 72 hours.

Under the law — whatever one thinks of it — Alma’s baby girl is a U.S. citizen. Given the circumstances of her birth and the way her mother was treated, at least that little child should have no illusions about this being the “land of the free.”


2:24 pm on November 23, 2009