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Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Sheriff Joe Arpaio told WND today he intends to fight Justice Department allegations that his office violated federal civil rights laws in enforcing immigration laws in Maricopa County, Arizona.
He further affirmed that his office will proceed with the Cold Case Posse investigation into the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate and his eligibility to be president, which is scheduled to release preliminary findings in February.
In the Obama eligibility investigation, Arpaio’s investigative team has
amassed hundreds of pages of documentation and taken testimony from
dozens of experts in preparation for a final phase of field
“President Obama has just put a welcome sign on the U.S. border with Mexico,” Arpaio told WND in response to the Justice Department complaint.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division issued the complaint against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office at the conclusion of a three-year investigation.
The 22-page complaint signed by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez charges the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office under Arpaio’s direction has engaged in racial profiling of Latinos, as well as unlawful stops, detentions and arrests of Latinos, in violation of federal civil rights laws.
A coordinated attack?
In recent days, the group that led the recall effort against former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce – the legislature credited with passing Arizona’s tough immigration law, SB1070 –has announced its intentions to target Arpaio for electoral defeat in 2012.
Randy Parraz, president of Citizens for a Better Arizona, has begun pressing the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, a group that has budgetary authority over Arpaio, to pass a resolution that calls for Arpaio to resign.
In another attack that has arisen since Arpaio announced his decision to charge his Cold Case Posse with investigating Obama’s eligibility, the Associated Press recently republished an old allegation that Arpaio’s office had botched more than 400 sex crimes in the city of El Mirage, a suburb of Phoenix where the police force was disbanded in 2005.
In 2008, when the allegations first surfaced, the Arpaio’s office conducted a complete audit of all sex crimes, including those in El Mirage, and undertook criminal investigations in cases in which the evidence justified further law enforcement scrutiny.
WND can find nothing in the recent accusations published by the Associated Press that was not a repeat of the charges made more than three years ago.
Last week, Arpaio’s office responded with an apology to the victims. Nevertheless, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., whose district only marginally includes Maricopa County, issued a written statement demanding Arpaio resign. The congressman charged that if Arpaio remained, more damage would be done, because Arpaio allegedly has been emphasizing enforcement of immigration laws at the expense of “more important” responsibilities.
Arizona’s U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl issued a joint statement calling for using the resources of the Justice Department to prosecute the sex crimes and other cases.
The Associated Press also appears to have led national press coverage of the Justice Department’s civil rights complaint against Arpaio, obtaining an advance copy of the report ahead of other media.
After three years of cooperating with the Justice Department investigation, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was given only one-hour’s advance notice that the report was going to be released.
This morning, the Justice Department called officials of Arapaio’s office to a 9 a.m. meeting, refusing to disclose in advance the purpose of the meeting.
One hour later, Perez made the Arpaio report public at a press conference in Phoenix across the street from Arpaio’s office.
Arpaio’s office sent a representative to the press conference, but the Justice Department turned him away, saying there was no room for an observer.
Arpaio determined to fight
“The immediate result is to put thousands of criminal illegal aliens back on the streets,” Arpaio said.
He explained that his office could no longer investigate illegal aliens arrested on other offenses to determine if the they had a prior criminal record that would justify detention and possibly deportation under U.S. federal laws.
As a result of the Justice Department’s complaint, Arapaio’s office expects to be blocked from using Immigration and Customs Enforcement computers in Maricopa County jails to check if detainees are illegal immigrants who have outstanding warrants on criminal charges or criminal records from previous offenses.
Specifically, the Justice Department’s complaint alleged Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped Latinos on the basis of their appearance and suppressed individuals congregating in the community. The complaint said they were stopped not because of suspected criminal activity, but because the individuals congregating had “dark skin” or were speaking Spanish.
Arpaio asserted the charges have no basis.
“Let the Justice Department prove those charges in court,” Arpaio said. “I’m going to continue enforcing the immigration laws in Maricopa County whether or not the Justice Department wants those laws enforced.”
Nor did Arpaio indicate he would change any current policies or practices his office uses to enforce immigration laws.
“If the federal government wants to tell me how to enforce the immigration laws in Maricopa County, I guess we are going to have to fight it out in federal court,” he insisted.
Arpaio further questioned the Justice Department’s decision to give his office only 60 days to respond.
“The Justice Department took three years to conduct its investigation of my office,” Arpaio objected. “Now I’m supposed to prepare a detailed response to their 22-page complaint over the holidays.”
The Justice Department complaint arrived the day after the first anniversary of the gun battle near the Arizona border in which Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was gunned down by illegal immigrants armed with weapons supplied by the Justice Department in the now controversial “Fast and Furious” gun-walking operation. The scandal has brought Attorney General Eric Holder under considerable political pressure to resign.
At what cost Latino votes?
With winning the Latino vote a key election strategy for the Democratic Party in 2012, Obama gave a White House interview to three Latino journalists on Sept. 28 in which he proclaimed Arpaio and Maricopa County should not be taken as the “model” for U.S. immigration laws.
Referring indirectly to Arpaio, Obama told the Latino journalists that the U.S. cannot have a “patchwork of 50 different states with 50 different immigration laws” in which individual counties “are trying to enforce their own immigration laws rather than having a national approach.”
See the interview with President Obama:
Addressing Arpaio directly, Obama was even more pointed: “We challenged the Arizona law that was supported by the sheriff because we thought there was a great danger naturalized citizens, individuals with a surname could be vulnerable to questioning, the laws could be abused in a way that were not fair to Latino citizens in Arizona.”
Just last month, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback to the Obama administration with the announcement the court would review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco that largely struck down the provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070, a tough immigration law that had established immigration-enforcement authority for Arizona state and local law enforcement officers.
In so doing, the Supreme Court rejected the Obama administration’s argument that review of the circuit court’s decision was not warranted. The argument mirrored Obama’s assertion that immigration policy was properly the realm of the federal government.
Justice Elena Kagan, formerly Obama’s solicitor general, announced she would recuse herself from the case.
In signing the law April 23, 2010, Arizona Gov. Janet Brewer expressed concern that the federal government was not enforcing immigration laws in Arizona. The concern was heightened in the state following the murder of Robert Krentz, a popular Arizona cattle rancher who was shot to death on his property in Cochise County, Ariz., by a suspect believed to be an illegal immigrant drug smuggler from Mexico.
Despite the drug war waging across the nation’s southern border with Mexico, Customs and Border Protection achieved national attention by announcing a plan to create kiosks in Big Bend National Park, Texas, that would allow people from the Mexican town of Boquillas del Carmen to enter the United States by scanning their identity documents and speaking to a customs officer in an office at least 100 miles away.
Those wishing to contribute to the 501(c)3 supporting the Cold Case
Posse investigation may send tax-deductible donations to the Maricopa
County Sheriff’s Office at: MCSO Cold Case Posse, P.O. Box 74374,
Phoenix, Ariz., 85087.