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Sheriff Joe in Trouble in Arizona

June 3, 2013
Plain English Version

Joe Arpaio is the Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona. The City of Phoenix is located there. For years his deputies stopped trucks and cars merely because the people in them were Latino. They raided work places and stopped people standing in groups.

The reason was always the same. The people targeted were thought to be here illegally. Many of the people stopped were American citizens or legal residents.

The sheriff does not hide his hostility to undocumented migrants. Time and again he has been sued for these practices. A federal judge now says they are violations of the rights of Latinos.

The judge said the sheriff could no longer use “race or Latino ancestry” as a reason to stop vehicles with Latino occupants or because he suspects the people in them are in the country illegally.

The sheriff denies that his deputies single out Latinos. The judge disagreed when he looked at the memos and reports filed by the deputies. The court is trying to figure out how to enforce the decision. The sheriff will appeal the ruling.

There was always a lot of cooperation between the sheriff’s office and the federal government. The Arizona border is long and many migrants find their way to Maricopa County. A spokesman for Sheriff Arpaio said the deputies were using the training given them by the federal government.

The atmosphere is changing. An advocate said, “Let this be a warning to anyone who hides behind a badge to wage their own private campaign against Latinos or immigrants. There is no exception in the Constitution for violating people’s rights in immigration enforcement.”

Sources: The Arizona Republic and The New York Times

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