Joe Arpaio, a Sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling in a case claiming his agency singled out Latinos during immigration patrols and racially profiled people. Arpaio has a reputation for being one of the toughest sheriffs in immigration enforcement and U.S. District Judge Murray Snow’s decision backs up allegations of officers violating Latino’s constitutional rights.
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Judge Snow’s ruling comes eight months after a seven-day bench trial that resulted in a finding that Arpaio’s deputies “unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people who were pulled over.” The sheriff was also accused of ordering officers to pull over cars for no reason other than immigration status checks. A small Latino group also alleged that the sheriff ordered some patrols not based on crime, but rather on letters and emails from Arizonans who complained about people with dark skin gathering in an area and speaking Spanish. Racial profiling that allegedly occurred is the main reason why the Arizona law known as “show me your papers” remains so controversial. Individuals that testified against Arpaio broke down in tears as they described their encounters with authorities. Some were taken and detained without knowing the reason why and other were sent to prisons and humiliated. Arpaio also sent thank you letters to Arizonans who reported the gatherings of Latinos.
In a state heavily populated by immigrants and known as the nation’s busiest illegal entryway, Arpaio took a hard stance against illegal immigration at the expense of actual US citizens. Arpaio’s lawyers stated that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office position "is that it has never used race and will never use race in its law-enforcement decisions." He added the sheriff's office relied on "bad training" from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refused to comment in the case. The new immigration bill will attempt to create equal laws nationwide to prevent racial profiling and offer equal protections for all immigrants. Unfortunately, in the meantime individuals and agencies are playing the blame game rather than taking personal responsibility in these types of incidences. The judge mentioned several times that racial profiling is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Arpaio’s lawyers may have a difficult case to defend due to “the gross statistical evidence” against them.
If you or a loved one have been racially profiled or targeted for immigration purposes because of your ethnic background, please contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.