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People In Guadalupe React To Arpaio's Conviction

Juan Ramirez age 10
(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
People "were scared" in Guadalupe during Arpaio's years of immigration patrols, said Juan Ramirez, speaking for his mom, Gladys Velasquez. Velasquez thinks Arpaio's conviction on criminal contempt is "good."

Blink and you could miss Guadalupe, which is less than one square mile on the edge of Tempe. But it was once a flashpoint in the controversy surrounding former Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio and his immigration patrols — the patrols he failed to stop after a judge’s order. Arpaio has now been convicted of criminal contempt.

“My mom says that it’s good, because — well, it’s not good for him,” said 10-year-old Juan Ramirez, interpreting for his mother, Gladys Velasquez, at a local restaurant.

Through her son, Velasquez said locals in this mostly Latino town were scared of Arpaio.

“And some immigrants also don’t like to pass near here because the sheriffs always come near this place,” Ramirez said, again for his mom.

Over at Mr. Monkey Sale$, a general store filled with piñatas, owner Mario Ochoa said the sheriff’s deputies never hassled him. But he said they did profile his customers.

Ochoa hopes the court makes Arpaio understand the fear many people lived in here.

“They could make him feel what everybody else feels,” Ochoa said. “Put him in Tent City. Put him with the pink underwear. He says the food was really good in Tent City. Let him try.”

Arpaio will be sentenced Oct. 5, but legal experts doubt the 85-year-old will see any jail time.
 

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.