Monday, May 2, 2011

Pro's Ranch Market

Pro's Ranch Market is a shopping center catering to the Mexican American population. The market has been the site of Immigration and Customs Enforcement task force designed to crack down on illegal immigration (photo by Jerilyn Forsythe).
Patrons at Pro's Ranch Market (photo by Jerilyn Forsythe).

5833 South Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona

            Pro’s Ranch Market, was raided by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement in April of 2010, and hundreds of people were terminated after the inability to provide the paperwork to prove they were working in the country legally. This South Phoenix location is in the heart of a predominantly black and hispanic neighborhood, and is less than three miles from the house I grew up in. The Sunday morning I went, it was bustling with families and other members from the community, doing their shopping and enjoying their fresh market cafe. This particular Ranch Market seems to function as a cultural and communal gathering center, and provides services and goods for mexican-americans and mexican migrants away from home. According to “Over-Raided, Under Siege”, “ICE deliberately carries out high profile raids in workplaces, stores and other public spaces in neighborhoods and homes to instill fear in communities and push back on policies and initiatives that protect rights”.
            In discussing legal action against Mexican Immigrants, there are parallels between Arizona politics and the larger picture with regard to the federal government. “ICE can't, and won't, deport all 12 million undocumented workers in the country. This would quickly halt many industries. Instead, these raids have a political purpose” (Bacon). This “political purpose” is similar to Arpaio’s in that the effort is to appease the public with a crackdown on the immigrant scape goat, and to cultivate a sensation of discomfort and fear within the hispanic and migrant community. According to Bill Ong Hing,  “Every American citizen of Mexican ancestry and every Mexican alien lawfully in this country must know after today’s decision that he travels the fixed checkpoint highways at [his] risk”(26) . Indeed, in the processing of employees by ICE, thousands of workers, most of whom are legal, experience the interruption of their work day to wait for hours, among their peers and partners, to be confiscated, questioned and then either released or held according to the security officers judgement.
            The criminalization of crossing the border and remaining in the United States without proper paperwork has landed many immigrants in jail and prison. According to O’Leary,"This criminalizes undocumented status and turns dishwashers, janitors, landscapers and our neighbors into criminals”. Indeed, many immigrants (legal and illegal) are held in our justice system without due process of law, keeping them from their families indefinitely.  According to “Over Raided, Under Siege”, “As ICE launches more aggressive raids, an alarming number of children are being left behind without their parents. Studies estimate that between 3.1 million children and 5 million children – who are U.S. citizens – are living with at least one undocumented immigrant
Parent. While these children cannot be deported, having their parents rounded up by immigration authorities leaves them vulnerable to family separation, economic hardship, and psychological trauma”(6). While the criminalization of immigration has led to a large influx of non-citizens circulating the justice system, estimated at 17% within federal prisons in 2005 by the US. Justice Department, the impact of immigration raids on non-immigration related crimes remains inconclusive (Wagner). 

- Jerilyn Forsythe, Brandon Crockett, and Neil Lokare

Bacon, David. "The Real Political Purpose of the ICE Raids." New America Media (2007): n. pag. Web. 11 Apr 2011. <>.

Hing, Bill O. "Institutional Racism, ICE Raids, and Immigration Refor." (2009). Web. <http://>

O'Leary, Kevin. "Arizona's Tough New Law Against Illegal Immigration." Time Magazine (2010): n. pag. Web. 19 Apr 2011. <,8599,1982268,00.html>.

"Over Raided, Under Siege." U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Destroy the Rights of Immigrants. National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. nnirr, 2008. Print.

Wagner, Dennis. "Impact of Arpaio's Crime Sweeps Is Unclear." AZ Central 4 October 2009: n. pag. Web. 11 Apr 2011. <>.

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