Click to play video Terry Greene Sterling on the people in her book 'Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone'

Recent Blog Entries

Thanks, South Central, for celebrating diversity, for uniting us instead of dividing us.
Up now on The Daily Beast, a travel story about my trip north of the Arctic Circle this January, to see things before they change.  
Mar 23 Arizona Immigration-Law Backer Woos Mexico
Many American Hispanics and Mexicans in Mexico see Arizona as a racist state, thanks to SB 1070.
Mar 18 Pew: Crossing border illegally more than once drives uptick in federal immigration crime
In 1992, 12 percent of sentenced federal offenders were unauthorized immigrants, the Pew Center reports today. Ten years later, 48 percent of sentenced federal offenders were unauthorized immigrants. The reason for the uptick:  more unauthorized immigrants who were caught crossing the border more than once have been sentenced to hard time – two years on […]
Dec 06 Luis Gutierrez, Immigration Reform and the Demographic Tsunami
Rep. Luis Gutierrez on 2014 immigration reform: “It will not be perfect, and it may not even be pretty.”
Nov 22 Shattered Dreams: Jan Brewer’s Arizona fails to investigate 6000 cases of child abuse
I’m not saying Juana could have prevented the massive CPS negligence, but with her education, heart and work ethic, she would have improved the culture at CPS, and would have helped the fragile, abused children who crossed her path.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn Case: The Arizona Detention Connection
Dominique Strauss-Kahn Case: The Arizona Detention Connection

Dominque Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund who was widely viewed as a likely contender for the French presidency, faced sexual assault allegations by a chambermaid who says he attacked her in May. The maid, an immigrant from  Guinea, speaks a West African dialect called Fulani. The maid spoke Fulani to a mysterious West African friend who was incarcerated someplace in Arizona for drug charges, and the call was recorded, and this helped shatter  her credibility. (She also lied on her income tax form and her political asylum application, according to press reports.)  The reason the taped phone conversation shattered the maid’s cred,  at least in the eyes of newspaper reporters who talked to prosecutors,  is  that the maid said something to the effect of “Don’t worry I know what I am doing” and the inference was that she was going to scam DSK, who is enormously rich.

After word of the taped conversation got out, DSK, who on home arrest in cushy quarters in New York, was released. (He can’t leave the USA, though.) Prosecutors still haven’t decided whether they will pursue the case.

In other words, that phone call with the guy in Arizona was important.

I’m telling you all this so you’ll know why media outlets all over the USA were scrambling to get in touch with the mysterious West African friend, to get his side of the story. The problem, though, was that no one knew his name, or where he was incarcerated.

That is, until The Daily Beast found him. His name is Amara Tarawally, and he is an unauthorized immigrant from Sierra Leone, and in an exclusive interview with me, he claims  he’s the maid’s fiance. He was arrested in a pot bust in Chandler, Arizona, about a year ago. After serving time in jail, he was transferred to a detention center in Eloy, Arizona, pending a hearing on his immigration status.  But since his immigration case is based in New York, the case hasn’t been transferred out to Arizona yet and he’s in limbo. He told me even Sierra Leone would be better than detention because he’s been in the dark for so long, and feels cut off from the world. He also told me the phone call was taken completely out of context, that the maid is a beautiful woman who would never lie, and that he learned English from watching CNN, The Price is Right, and Deal or No Deal.

You can read the story here.

And here is an NBC interview I gave earlier today.

What do you think?

Did DSK assault the maid?

And how come just about every good news story has an Arizona connection?