Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio has planned a crime-supression operation for Thursday, the day the state's new immigration law SB 1070 goes into effect.
Arpaio released a statement saying he has received intelligence that thousands of protesters may picket his office headquarters or Tent City detention encampment in Phoenix.
"Intelligence gathering leads us to believe that several acts of civil disobedience are planned [for] here at my office headquarters in the Wells Fargo Bank high rise in downtown Phoenix, at the jails including Tent City, and at Thursday's crime-suppression operation, which will be conducted by my deputies and posse members," according to the statement.
Arpaio has set up an area of the Tent City jail for illegal immigrants and other detainees taken into custody Thursday. Arpaio is calling it "Section 1070."
Tent City currently houses about 1,500 male and female inmates, including 200 who have immigration or agency holds placed on them. That group is housed separately to ease consulate visits and deportation, according to Arpaio. Most of the 200 immigration holds are illegal aliens from the country of Mexico who have been arrested and convicted for various crimes in addition to immigration violations.
Arpaio uses Tent City as a lower-cost alternative to a hard-jail facility. It was opened in 1993 at a cost of $150,000. Arpaio expects demonstrators to try to disrupt jail operations, according to his website.
"Activists and their celebrity sympathizers who wish to target this community and this sheriff by attempting to disrupt our jail and patrol operations will be unsuccessful as we will be fully prepared to meet those challenges head on with appropriately staffed personnel and resources," according to Arpaio's statement.