Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County has been under fire for his immigration law-enforcement policies from protesters who simply object to what he’s doing, in a lawsuit alleging his department profiles on race, and from the federal government which has canceled agreements with his department to check for violators who arrive at his jail.
Now he’s wondering just how much of that displeasure from Washington is being generated by the perceived White House alarm over his Cold Case Posse investigation checking out suspicions raised by area tea-party officials that Barack Obama may use or try to use fraudulent documents to be on the 2012 presidential ballot in Arizona.
In an interview with WND, the sheriff said, “I am an elected sheriff. I took an oath of office to enforce all the laws of the state of Arizona. I take that very seriously. I do report to the people.”
But he said he’s considering the possibility there are political connections to the circumstances that have developed.
“The investigation, I’m not sure that’s part of the puzzle or not. I wonder why they are going after me,” he said. “I’m a little suspicious of what’s going on. The reason I’m suspicious is that the president mentioned me recently.”
He was talking about Barack Obama’s recent discussion with some Hispanic journalists, and the question one raised about the government’s investigation of Arpaio regarding his civil-rights record.
“The president didn’t like the way I enforce 1070 (a state law regarding immigration),” he said.
He has described the work that is going on as “a serious law-enforcement investigation” and he said the findings will be “based in facts.” Arpaio said a comprehensive report will be issued shortly after the February preliminary report.
His investigation was launched after local tea-party members expressed their concern to him about the possibility of fraud in the Obama campaign.
The investigators have experience ranging in a number of law enforcement branches, and are volunteers working without expense to Maricopa County taxpayers.
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.
The sheriff also confirmed the Obama investigation has broadened beyond an examination of whether or not the birth certificate made public by the White House on April 27 is an authentic document. The probe, he said, is examining Obama’s history in regard to his eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.
He said his team has amassed hundreds of pages of documentation and taken testimony from dozens of experts in preparation for a final phase of field investigation
In the interview with WND, he cited a tabloid’s report that the White House is in a “panic” over the investigation.
That report comes from the Globe, which cited sources inside the White House saying that Michelle Obama “is in a panic” over the review by professional investigators.
Arpaio said he has no reason to doubt the report, as the times he has been quoted by the tabloid, the quotes have been accurate.
“Someone must pick up the Globe at the supermarket and deliver it to the White House,” he told WND.
On the issue of immigration, the confrontation between Washington and the sheriff came to a head in recent days when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it no longer would use Arpaio’s officers to screen detainees in Maricopa County jails.
That followed shortly after the agency’s decision to revoke Arpaio’s authority to access its immigration database, and follows a Justice Department review of claims his office violated civil rights of suspects.
Arpaio said his office had nearly 100 deputies trained by the federal government to investigate alleged illegal aliens, and regularly detected dozens and even hundreds to be held for deportation.
That training no longer will be used, and while the federal agency promised to send 50 agents to take over the deputies’ duties, only one had been sent so far, the sheriff said.
The ICE agency declined to respond to WND requests for comment.
But thousands of aliens have been identified as suspect in recent years, Arpaio said, with his deputies averaging about 15 a day. The federal agent identified three on the first day on duty, he noted.
He also said ICE had refused to accept some detainees his deputies had identified, and his office had to transport them to the Border Patrol to avoid simply releasing them onto the streets.
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