Joe Arpaio/SB 1070: Witnesses for Thursday's Congressional Hearing by Representative Raul Grijalva

Catherine Figueroa, one of Arpaio's many victims, is slated to testify at a Congressional hearing Thursday

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva's office has released a schedule of witnesses for the hearing he's holding Thursday afternoon in D.C., and it includes several Phoenix residents, some of whom have been victims of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's anti-immigrant activities in one way or another.

One of them is Catherine Figueroa, the little girl whose mom and dad were pinched in an MCSO raid on a Phoenix car wash last year. Catherine actually saw her dad being arrested by Arpaio's thugs on TV, and in a video by Dennis Gilman, she tearfully appealed for President Barack Obama's help.

"I would tell him to help us," she said at the time. "I want to get my parents back, and that he has two daughters that, maybe one of them is my age..."

Catherine had to stay with relatives for months while her parents remained in Joe's jails. As you can imagine, the President did not intervene, though several sources have told me that White House staffers did see the video.

Also at the hearing will be Celia Alejandra Alvarez, who was arrested during a nasty February 2009 raid on the landscaping firm H.M.I., where she was working under an assumed name.

During her arrest, her jaw was busted by MCSO goons, and it took her three weeks to get any sort of medical attention while she was locked up in Estrella Jail. All they gave her was Ibuprofen, which she had to pay for. After she was eventually released, a local doctor treated her for the injury, but she still suffers from pain and mental strain over the incident.

ASU grad Silvia Rodriguez will be another witness. She's not a victim of Joe, but of the failure of Congress to pass a DREAM Act allowing children brought here by undocumented parents to legalize their status.

Rodriguez came to this country when she was two, according to info supplied by Grijalva's office. Although she had to support herself and pay out-of-state tuition at ASU, she's been accepted at Harvard to pursue a master's degree, states her bio.

Sylvia Herrera and Alma Mendoza, both organizers with the Phoenix civil rights group Puente, will also be testifying, and a number of Congressmen and Congresswomen will be attending the hearing, including Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez. The hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. in the Longworth House Building.

According to one of Grijalva's staffers, C-Span will not be covering the event. Which is too bad. I know a lot of folks here in Arizona would like to watch it. Or, in the case of the nativist crowd, rail about it.


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