Joe Arpaio, an Arizona sheriff who is already facing a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into his controversial immigration enforcement tactics, has vowed to continue hunting down “illegals” with or without federal authority. That will soon be complicated by the fact that immigration authorities have reportedly nixed Arpaio’s agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which allowed his deputies to act as federal immigration agents. His police agency will still be permitted to check the immigration status of its inmates.
According to the Phoenix New Times, Arpaio appeared on KTAR 92.3 FM’s Jay Lawrence Show last night vowing to continue operating his “Hispanic-hunting dragnets,” even if it means driving undocumented immigrants back across the border himself:
“I’m going to tell you something, Jay…I don’t need the feds to do my crime suppression to opt to arrest illegals. I can do it without the federal authority, and I’m going to continue to do it. It makes no difference. It helps us. Because I don’t have to do all the paperwork for the feds, number one. And number two, I won’t be under their umbrella, their guidance. So I will operate the same way, nothing is going to change.
Nothing changes…because pursuant to our duties in these crime suppression [sweeps] we arrest anybody that violates the law. If we find during the arrests that that there are illegals, we arrest them. Now the only difference [is] we’re going to take ’em down to ICE. I hope they accept them, if they don’t, I’ll bring ’em myself to the border. So nothing really has changed. This is all politics. They want to use me to get rid of this 287 agreement across the country.”
Arpaio seems to believe that the White House is going out of its way to single him out and curb his immigration-policing powers for “political reasons.” And just in case anyone doubts whether Arpaio is serious, he has proclaimed that he will do another “crime suppression” immigration sweep in the coming days just to “show Washington and everybody else I’m not changing.”
It seems more likely that while reviewing their agreement with Arpaio’s police agency, federal immigration authorities became concerned about the racial profiling allegations, the 2,700 lawsuits filed against Arpaio, the local budget shortfall, and the increase in unsolved violent crimes that the Sheriff’s expensive preoccupation with targeting non-violent undocumented immigrants has caused.