“Another factor (in the law numbers of immigrant detentions in Arpaio’s recent sweep) may well have been Lydia Guzman, a prominent Hispanic activist, who, along with a group called CopWatch, designed a detailed messaging system to warn the Phoenix Valley of immigration sweeps. Guzman sent an initial text blast to 100 rapid response teams of business owners, Spanish radio stations, pastors and teachers, each of whom messaged their respective networks. At the same time, Guzman contacted lawyers, social workers and elected officials to be at the ready to help. “It spiderwebs out,” she says. “Before you know it my text tree spreads out to thousands of people.
In addition to Guzman’s tweets, CopWatch visibly tails police operations. On Thursday, in one small West Phoenix mobile command center, members of CopWatch monitored police communications. “They just said ‘294 King’ — that means immigration. Let’s go,” cried one member listening to the police scanners. And with that CopWatch activists grabbed cameras, lawyer contacts and car keys to follow Arpaio’s sweep.”
An awesome heroic effort on the part of CWers in Arizona!