Arizona: anti-immigrant sheriff vows defiance of feds

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County is vowing to defy a federal order to halt immigration round-ups. On Oct. 16, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Arpaio to stop using the authority of the federal 287g program—which deputizes local law enforcement to help federal agents target undocumented immigrants—in his Phoenix street sweeps that have primarily led to arrests of people who haven’t committed any serious crimes. Arpaio publicly refused as he headed a 12th major anti-immigration operation through the metro Phoenix county that day.

“You know what? They can take away anything they want. I’m still the elected sheriff,” Sheriff Arpaio told Fox News’ Glenn Beck this week. “I’m still going to enforce the state laws and I’m going to enforce the federal laws.”

Arpaio, a veteran DEA agent, was first elected in 1993 and has since won five four-year terms as a Republican, all by double-digit margins. The county inmate population has doubled in that time to 10,000. With the county jail full, Arpaio began housing inmates in tent cities, telling critics that most jails these days are “like hotels.” Claiming that pink is a calming color, he has marched inmates through the streets in pink underwear. He also instituted the nation’s first female and juvenile chain gangs. Maricopa was the only county to lose its 287g authority. (CSM, Oct. 17)

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle in Arizona.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.