Arizona has been one of the hotbeds of controversy over illegal immigrants and their rights. Now, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaioappears to be in the center of the latest controversy, as he is being accused of using racial-profiling and is being threatened by the Obama administration for doing so.
Earlier in the month, the Obama administration said that it would be bringing a suit against Arpaio and his department for, in their words, “violating civil rights laws by improperly targeting Latinos.” The sheriff, who claims to be “America’s toughest sheriff,” has slammed Obama for his accusations. He said that the government has failed to confront over 11 million illegal immigrants who work in the United States and that his department has done no wrong.
Now, more than 200 activists joined together at a park in Maricopa County to support their sheriff. Chanting “go Joe, go Joe,” they held signs that said “Sheriff Joe keeps us safe” and “illegal is illegal.”
The probe against Sheriff Joe Arpaio actually began under former President George W. Bush in 2008. Argaio supporter Buffalo Rick Galeener said,
“For me it’s just a big waste of money and all political. It’s been going on for three and a half years … they’ve been digging and digging and digging, and they still can’t find anything to charge him with.”
The tensions over immigration issues in Arizona have intensified recently, as the Supreme Court just heard arguments over a state law that targeted illegal immigrants. The law which was signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in 2010 requires all police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect of being in the US illegally.
Arpaio has also been probed for his treatment of jail inmates, as he requires those in his jails to wear pink underwear.
Arpaio’s supporters argue that his tough treatment of those who are incarcerated works. As Mark Renner, who has person experience serving time in the Maricopa County jail explained,
“He doesn’t want you to return so it’s not going to be a pleasant experience.”