Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Arizona Sheriff Remains Strong After Ruling

While most of yesterday’s protests across the country were directed at Arizona’s controversial new law, SB 1070, one local group targeted their anger at one person who they have been at odds with for almost a decade – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio, a 78-year-old ex-federal drug agent, has become a poster child for the anti-immigrant in Arizona gaining attention for his much touted sweeps through Hispanic neighborhoods looking for undocumented immigrants.  Fashioning himself a modern day John Wayne, his actions caught the attention of the US Department of Justice which launched an investigation 17 months ago.

Yesterday, Arizona residents marched to his office at the county jail, pounded on the door and chanted, “Sheriff Joe, we are here. We will not live in fear.”

In a show of bravado, Arpaio ordered his deputies to conduct a raid yesterday looking for undocumented immigrants.  One officer, using a volunteer, spotted 28-year-old Alfredo Salas and pulled him over for a cracked windshield.  Salas has lived in the US legally since 1993.

Following his stop, Salas said, “It’s a Mexican truck so I don’t know if they saw that and said, ‘I wonder if he has papers or not.’ If that’s the case, it kind of gets me upset.”

In total, four individuals arrested in yesterday’s sweep, though no mention of their immigration status was mentioned by authorities.

Critics of sArpaio and his tactics argue that he and his deputies use race when deciding who to target choosing those who look Hispanic. Arpaio defends this accusation, saying that deputies approach people only when they have probable cause. The sheriff relies on a 5-year-old state law that prohibits immigrant smuggling to make arrests.

For his part, Arpaio feels he is simply doing his job, saying, “I have two state (immigration) laws that I am enforcing. It’s not federal, it’s state.”

Arpaio said, “I’m not going to brag,”

“Just look at the record. I’m doing what I feel is right for the people of Maricopa County.”

Associated Press