(Frontpage) -- Joe Arpaio has been the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes the city of Phoenix and is near the Mexican border, for 23 years. He is up for re-election this year and has just emerged victorious in a challenging primary against three rivals. In the general election for sheriff, however, polling data indicate that he would be trailing Democrat opponent Paul Penzone by several percentage points. Arpaio's foundering poll numbers are due, in large measure, to an ongoing smear campaign by the ACLU and the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ), falsely portraying him as a racist.
Arpaio is best known for his tough stance on border security, as articulated by his assertion that “Nothing is going to stop me from cracking down on illegal immigration as long as the laws are there.” For the ACLU and the DOJ, however, such words amount to nothing more than admissions of bigotry against Latinos, who constitute the vast majority of illegal border-crossers in Arizona.
The ACLU's contempt for Arpaio dates back many years, but things came to a head in 2008. After two years during which the illegal-immigrant population of Arizona had grown by an astounding 70%, illegals in Maricopa County constituted fully one-tenth of the county's population and 22% of its felons. Thus a coalition of small-business owners in Phoenix, whose livelihoods were being impacted by an ever-rising level of criminal activity by local illegals, formally implored Sheriff Arpaio “to restore law and order to this area.” Arpaio responded with an aggressive crackdown.
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