Prior to the rally held in downtown Phoenix for presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, his wife visited Tent City and spoke with inmates and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to learn about the conditions and why the jail is so controversial.
Sanders went to Tent City expecting to just peer through the gates; however, Arpaio brought her inside to show her what the jail was all about.
She took the time to talk with inmates, some of whom were happy with the treatment they’ve received.
Luis Delatorre, who is currently serving time, said tent city has its downfalls, but also its benefits.
“It’s alright, it’s cool that they have the phones on most of the time so you can call whenever,” said Delatorre. “You get to work, so time goes a little bit faster.”
Others, however, shared their stories of mistreatment. After visiting the jail, Sanders heard stories from undocumented people living in Arizona. It was part of a roundtable discussion, organized by Puente, a civil rights group.
Katherine Figueroa, whose mother was an inmate at Tent City, said it was emotional to share her mother’s story.
“It brings back memories, when my mom says everything she went through in the jail, everything she suffered in there,” said Figueroa. “They treated her bad, really bad.”
Arpaio said he didn’t get as much time with Sanders as he would have liked, but he was able to set some things straight for her.
“She was shocked everybody here has been convicted,” said Arpaio. “She didn’t even know that.”
While Sanders kept her thoughts on Tent City to herself, she voiced an opinion on immigration.
“What we have to have is a comprehensive immigration reform, with a path toward citizenship,” said Sanders. “We need to do that yesterday.”