The Corrido of Joe Arpaio

During a weekend retreat for immigrant-rights activists in New York state, participant ( Neposter on a columbia jschool prof's doorw York Times, March 16, 2009) Saúl Linares wrote a corrido (folk ballad) about Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes the city of Phoenix, an inveterate nemesis of Hispanics who “happen” to have the “illegal immigrant look” (Creative Commons License photo credit: irina slutsky ).

The spoken corrido’s introduction (in English translation) sets the stage:

I will sing a corrido to all those present
that I wrote for Joe Arpaio from Arizona,
a shameless, disgraceful immigrant hater
who has earned the repudiation of the people.

The English translation of his corrido lyrics reads as follows:

Arpaio puts the immigrants in jail
because he says that they are crooks
but they are only looking for a decent job …
And without any apparent sense or reason
he paraded them in chains down the street.

All of the preceding facts cited in the corrido are true. A modest man, Mr. Saúl Linares threw his poignant corrido away after his performance. Fortunately, he was persuaded to save this important record of contemporary immigrants’ plight.

Leave a Reply