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In his two decades in office, Maricopa, Ariz., County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been tough on lawbreakers, including violators of immigration law, and that’s made him a lot of enemies.

Now, an organization called Respect Arizona has launched a campaign to recall him, explaining, “We believe our children deserve a sheriff that (sic) respects families, respects immigrants and respects Latinos.”

But Arpaio also has won many friends, including the group Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results, or CPFER, which today announced a campaign to defend the sheriff from the recall petitioners.

The newly formed organization of Arizona citizens has acquired the services of attorney Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and now with Freedom Watch.

In a letter released today, Klayman tells members of Respect Arizona that CPFER “has been formed for the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the Arizona, and Maricopa County electoral process.”

“The dangerous, subversive-like activities of Respect Arizona have the potential to launch this county and possibly the entire state in what can only be called an ‘Electoral Civil War’ that could cost the citizens of Arizona millions of taxpayer dollars; and a civil war where others could well start their own recall efforts against every newly elected officials at the county, city and state levels, and quite possibly, appointed officials, too, including judges,” he writes.

Klayman’s letter says the Respect Arizona allegations about Arpaio are “not only false on their face, but in addition also fraudulent since Respect Arizona obviously does not represent the majority of voters of Maricopa County, Arizona, who just re-elected Sheriff Arpaio a few months ago.”

Klayman says he is representing the citizens group, which is independent of the sheriff and his office and staff.

CPFER is telling the recall petition planners to drop their effort.

“If Respect Arizona’s illegal recall effort were to become the norm, then all public officials in the state could be recalled without cause, thus severely harming the electoral system. Even judges could be subject to this sort of harassment. And, at a time of severe fiscal crisis, this illegal recall effort wastes the scarce resources of the taxpayers, the county and the state,” Klayman says.

When Arpaio recently was re-elected to his sixth term, the Los Angeles Times called him an “illegal immigration hardliner.”

“He was one of the state’s most vocal supporters of SB1070, which requires law enforcement officers to check the papers of anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant. The Supreme Court struck down other provision of the law, but ruled that the so-called ‘show your papers’ provision was constitutional,” the paper said.

Arpaio told a television station at the time, “I would like to get together with the Latino community, but they scream at you.”

The organization leading the recall drive says Arpaio “has failed to fulfill his duties.”

“We believe business owners should not be unfairly harassed, workers unlawfully detained and families unjustly torn apart from raids that have nothing to do with public safety,” the group says.

Klayman’s letter, however, says: “We submit that your recall effort to cast out of office the duly elected Sheriff Arpaio without sufficient grounds relating to his performance since he was re-elected, is nothing more than a blatant illegal attempt to disenfranchise the majority of voters who cast their votes in the general election, thereby depriving these voters of the results of the election, and also thus depriving them of due process of law.

“This rises even to the level of a criminal conspiracy and enterprise,” Klayman’s letter says.

The attorney says if the recall petitioners do not withdraw their campaign, “we have been instructed by our client to pursue all available legal recourse against Respect Arizona and you personally to protect the voters … from your fraudulent and illegal attempt to nullify their legitimate votes.”

Respect Arizona did not respond to a WND request for comment.

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