Posted: 06/10/2010By: Susan Casper
WASHINGTON - Arizona's new immigration law
came under fire Thursday on Capitol Hill. A small group of women from
the Valley testified before members of Congress in Washington, D.C. They
expressed how Arizona's illegal immigration crackdown is impacting
"My parents were in jail for three months," witness Christina Figueroa explained. "They were just working and Arpaio did one of his raids at the car wash."
The 10-year-old poured out her heart about how she was separated from her parents following one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's workplace raids.
"I kept thinking that
maybe I would see my parents when I got back home," Figueroa cried. "I
would also have bad dreams where the deputies would take my aunt, her
family and me to jail."
Figueroa's parents, according to the sheriff, were working in the U.S. illegally and charged with identity theft during a crime suppression sweep at a Valley car wash.
Figueroa along with a handful of other women from the Valley traveled to the D.C. with one message... "We want justice!"
"I have personally witnessed young children terrorized by black ski-masked deputies and continue to witness the trauma put upon women and children," said witness Sylvia Herra. She represents the Puente Movement, an Arizona group organizing against SB 1070.
The witnesses were called to Capitol Hill by U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). The women said their voices represent thousands who want President Obama to step in to stop Sheriff Arpaio and 1070.
"Please help us," Figueroa sobbed. "Children don't know what to do without their parents."
"I refuse to be labeled an illegal, a criminal or even undocumented," Silvia Rodriguez said angrily.
Arpaio told ABC15 he's frustrated
Representative Grijalva never asked for his side of the immigration
"He can have all the hearings he wants. He can have all these witnesses that are twisting the facts, I know the real facts, and he can put on his pony show," Arpaio said.
The sheriff and critics argue stories like 10-year-old Christina's Figueroa's may be emotional but the law is the law.
"It's the parents who are bad guys," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "So they have to be responsible. We just did our job and we arrested them. But once again [there are] many people in the jails that are separated from their 10-year-olds, but nobody talks about that."
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