Monday, May 2, 2011

Lindstrom Family Auto Wash

Photo by Jerilyn Forsythe

3003 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016

            Lindstrom’s Family Car Wash was raided by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his posse, made up of civilian volunteer’s, on June 13th 2009. This was one of several high-profile immigration raids, all part of Arpaio’s “crime suppression sweeps”. According an article published by the Arizona Republic about the incident, 14 arrests were made of persons suspected to be working illegally at the family car wash, two of which were in possession of fake IDs (Rubiano).
            The low number of all over arrests and deportations made during Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s raids implies that there are motivations behind them other than “crime suppression”. According to an article published in the Arizona Republic less than a year later, the raids were much more effective as a social intimidation tool, and showed little to no influence on the crime statistics. It seems that most immigrations raids (Arpaio’s and federal) happen at locations that they were tipped off about and that are extremely publicly visible (Hensley). Also, according to Deportation in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands “to relieve some of the stress and constant fear of apprehension and deportation, many undocumented immigrants find solace and a sense of security within a a network of friends and relatives (Chavez). Ironically, association within these social networks also indirectly contributed to, and heightened fears involving the possibilities of, apprehension and subsequent deportation” (177-8). Because of the isolation of immigrants from the whole of society, employment and social networks are mostly cycled within their community, encouraging both their solidarity and separateness from the rest of the society. Essentially, the high number of mexican migrants in the phoenix metropolitan area and their tendency towards nuclear families and community makes them more vulnerable to Arpaio’s fear and deportation tactics.
            Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a strong and fanatical support base in Arizona, presumably from the same demographic that supported legislation SB1070. The national economic crisis and unique political climate of Arizona made it easy for Arpaio maneuver above through laws and around human rights in it’s anti-immigration crusade. According to McDowell and Wonders, “Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio emerged as one of the most powerful representations of the complex interplay between surveillance and enforcement rituals as a disciplinary force in the lives of migrants….Arpaio represents global disciplinary strategies in their localized form.” This parallel is further explored in discussing a phoenix site raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
            Since the beginning of 2008, Arpaio’s raids have arrested 932 people, 708 were suspected of being in the country illegally, and some of which had felony charges on their hands (Hensley). There is estimated to be 500,000 immigrants living illegally in Arizona (O’Leary). If Arpaio’s singular goal was to control and remove the illegal population, his effectiveness would be right under .002%.
            Through this political agenda, many of the deported have been ripped away from their families. Most are adults with other family members living here, possibly children. The day after the Lindstrom’s Family Car Wash raid, a video was made of a tearful nine year-old girl whose parents were both arrested in the car wash raid and who were facing deportation. She was American-born and pleading for Obama’s help. My research failed to find what happened to the little girl or her parents.

- Jerilyn Forsythe, Neil Lokare, and Brandon Crockett
Hensley, JJ. "Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Crime Sweeps Have Little Effect." Arizona Republic (2010): n. pag. Web. 19 Apr 2011. <>.

McDowell, Meghan, and Nancy Wonders. "Keeping Migrants in Their Place." Social Justice. 36.2 (2009): 55-70. Print.

Núñez-Mchiri, Guillermina, and Victor Talavera. Deportation in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. 166-194. Print.

Rubiano, Sherry Anne. "Sheriff: Phoenix Car Wash Hit in Immigration Raid." AZ Central June 13 2009: n. pag. Web. 11 Apr 2011. <>.

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