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Sheriff Arpaio plans to ignore federal judge’s ruling on Arizona immigration law

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Despite Federal Judge Susan Bolton’s decision to enjoin four key provisions of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law, SB 1070, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- who has gained national attention for his roundups of suspected illegal immigrants and his practice of forcing them to wear pink underwear in the tent cities where they are detained -- has told John King of CNN News that it will be “business as usual” for his department, and he is “very confident with the work being done by my deputies.”

In the CNN interview, Arpaio said he understood why some people want amnesty for illegal immigrants: “Employers want cheap labor,” he said, “and the politicians want the Hispanic vote.”

In her July 28 decision, Judge Bolton struck down four provisions of the Arizona law on the basis that they interfere with the federal government’s obligation to establish immigration law. The four provisions of the Arizona law that she enjoined were:

A portion of Section 2 -- which requires police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain or arrest, if they reasonably suspect the person is in the country illegally;

Section 3 – which criminalizes the failure to apply for or carry immigration documents;

A portion of Section 5 – which criminalizes the solicitation, application for or performance of work by an undocumented immigrant.

Section 6 – which authorizes the warrantless arrest of a person, where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person “removable.”

Arpaio’s notoriety comes not only from his support of SB 1070. According to a report by CBS 5, television station KPFO in Arizona, Arpaio’s office is under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly opening baseless investigations repeatedly and using sheriff’s deputies to retaliate against prominent officials and journalists who had criticized him.

One of his accusers, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who wrote a critical letter to the Justice Department about Arpaio, was visited by Arpaio’s deputies, who reportedly demanded all of his e-mail messages, phone call logs and appointment calendars.

Mayor Gordon, who was never charged with any crime, said that Arpaio, “just raises issues and then hides behind his badge.”

In another case cited in the KPFO report, Mayor George Gascogne, of Mesa, AZ, found his town’s library raided by scores of Arpaio’s men, allegedly looking for illegal immigrants, after Gascogne had made publicly criticized the sheriff’s tactics.

Arpaio even clashed with Don Stapely, the Supervisor of Maricopa County, who disagreed with Arpaio’s practice of using town funds for his roundups of suspected illegal immigrants. After recommending the appointment of a person in the sheriff’s office to monitor the department’s budget, Stapely was arrested by Arpaio. And, when Stapely was released by the court, he was re-arrested.

Journalist John Dougherty, of the New Times newspaper, was also arrested and charged with approaching Arpaio with a silver metallic object (which photos show to be a microphone) when he tried to question the Sheriff about some land Arpaio was alleged to own.

Arpaio also arrested the newspaper’s editor and publisher, according to CBS 5.

Other persons cited in the CBS telecast as being on the receiving end of Arpaio’s retaliatory tactics were Dan Savin, Arpaio’s opponent in the 2004 and 2008 race for the sheriff’s office, as well as Terry Goddard, Arizona’s attorney general, and Barbara Mundell, a local judge.

David Iglesias, the former federal prosecutor and U.S. Attorney whose career was portrayed  in the movie “A Few Good Men,” which starred Tom Cruise, was asked his opinion of Sheriff Arpaio’s tactics in the CBS interview.

“I’ve seen this type of thing in South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia,” said Iglesias. “But I can’t believe I’m seeing it in the U.S.”

When asked if he would seek criminal action against Arpaio, Iglesias said that if it were up to him, he would take the matter to a grand jury and work with the Justice Department to seek an  indictment of the sheriff.


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