PHOENIX — Eighty demonstrators against Arizona's tough-on-illegal-immigration policies trickled out of jails here Friday, and a local sheriff continued one of his controversial operations that critics contend targets Latinos.
The protesters had been arrested Thursday, the day the state's controversial immigration law took effect and when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched his 17th sweep against illegal immigrants.
On Friday he announced that three illegal immigrants were arrested in the sweep. During such operations, his deputies stop people for sometimes minor violations and check their immigration status.
Activists boasted that they had slowed down the famously tough-talking Arpaio. "Families were not separated, the community was not terrorized," said Carlos Garcia of Puente, who was himself arrested at the jail Thursday.
Friday afternoon, several activists blocked the command center Arpaio set up for his sweep, leading to more arrests for civil disobedience. "They want to go to jail, so that's where they're going," Arpaio said. "They want to keep coming, we'll lock them up."
Also Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer said the Legislature may "tweak" SB 1070 when it convenes in January to address the federal judge's concerns about the law.
For example, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton had singled out a provision requiring that every person arrested in the state be held until their immigration status is determined. Brewer's lawyer had told the judge that the sentence was "inartfully" written and should only apply to suspected illegal immigrants.