Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Tuesday that the federal government had stripped his office of its authority to patrol for illegal immigrants.
Immigration news doesn’t get much bigger than Sheriff Arpaio. The Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff is the most well known sheriff in the immigration debate. He’s famous for his hard-line, no apologies approach.
He makes inmates wear pink. He kept many illegal immigrants in a segregated enclosure known as Tent City where temperatures were so high that groups accused him of human rights violations.
He is a hero of the right and a villain to the left.
Arpaio says he’s not giving up. He plans to use continue his controversial “crime suppression operations,” despite DHS’s decision to not renew an agreement that would allow the sheriff to continue immigration enforcement on the streets, according to the East Valley Tribune.
“It’s all politics,” said Arpaio, who spent much of an afternoon news conference Tuesday wagging his finger, waving his arms and snarling at reporters.
The department of Justice and other federal agencies are investigating the sheriff’s office on accusations of racial profiling during the operations, the paper says.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, with some 160 federally trained deputies, is the largest in the program and the most closely scrutinized by people on all sides of the immigration debate, according to the New York Times.
Arpaio said the vast majority of the 33,000 arrests of illegal immigrants his office has made in the past two years under the agreement followed a check on the immigration status of people in jails. About 300 have been arrested in the field during “crime suppression” operations, he said.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)