CCR Attorney Sunita Patel on Law and Disorder Radio Show (May 10, 2010)

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May, 2010
Originally aired May 10, 2010. From the Law and Disorder Radio Show website:

CCR Attorney Legal Observer Arrested in Arizona Immigration Protests

Legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights were arrested last week during mass demonstrations of protesters who opposed Federal law 287G, Arizona law SB 1070. What happened? CCR Legal Director Bill Quigley told the media, Arizona is starting to act like Mississippi in the civil rights days. Among those arrested were National Lawyers Guild officer Roxana Orrell and CCR staff attorney Sunita Patel.

Sunita Patel:

  • It was my first time in Maricopa County. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is known for branding the most horrible incarnation of 287G and ICE police collaboration.
  • 287G is the statute by which this program is authorized by Congress. He also has what’s called a secure communities program which allows for the identification of anyone who is a non-citizen through a finger printing system. 287G allows for local agencies to implement immigration law through a memorandum of understanding with the federal government.
  • At the same time he implements what’s called “crime suppression sweeps” Where he takes his units and regular citizens to sweep through neighborhoods.
  • I spent the night in jail, I hadn’t planned on it. It was really an honor to be in solidarity with the rest of the protesters. I was charged with obstruction of a highway and public thoroughfare and failure to obey a police officer. People in Arizona call it a war zone when it comes to immigration enforcement.
  • Arizona has also become the site for a spark of incredible activism and the growth of an incredible human rights movement.

Prior to her position at CCR, she held a Soros Justice Fellowship at The Legal Aid Society, Immigration Law Unit in New York where she represented immigrant detainees in removal proceedings and worked with criminal justice and human rights groups to create independent community oversight for detention operations through public accountability boards. Sunita is a former law clerk for the Honorable Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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