Judicial Watch • Mayor Says Illegal Immigrants’ Civil Rights Violated

Mayor Says Illegal Immigrants’ Civil Rights Violated

Mayor Says Illegal Immigrants’ Civil Rights Violated

APRIL 14, 2008

The Arizona mayor, who under pressure from Judicial Watch reluctantly reversed his city’s illegal immigrant sanctuary status, has ordered the FBI to investigate the local sheriff—Joe Arpaio—for violating the civil rights of illegal aliens during arrests.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon asks the Department of Justice to investigate “discriminatory harassment” and “improper” stops, searches and arrests by Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies who patrol the metropolitan area. The Mayor writes that “Over the past few weeks, Sheriff Arpaio’s actions have infringed on the civil rights of our residents," and "put our residents’ well-being, and the well-being of law enforcement officers, at risk."

The high-profile immigration crackdowns have actually been requested by numerous county business owners and city leaders desperate to remedy the illegal immigration crisis that has overwhelmed their border state. In the absence of federal enforcement, the Maricopa Sheriff’s Department has stepped in to rid the area of dozens of illegal immigrants—some violent criminals—who should have been deported long ago.

The sheriff’s department also restored much-needed law and order in a Phoenix business district (36th & Thomas) rife with solicitation, trespassing, loitering and public health ordinance violations long ignored by the city’s police department simply because the perpetrators were illegal immigrants. At the direction of Mayor Gordon, the Phoenix Police Department neglected to enforce the multiple laws repeatedly violated by illegal alien day laborers.

Mayor Gordon has long been a supporter of illegal immigration and his city’s longtime sanctuary ordinance forbids the police department from inquiring about a suspects’ immigration status. It was only after a Judicial Watch investigation and lawsuit threat last year that Gordon officially reversed the policy, though his action lacks credibility.

The Mayor picked a group of former federal, state and county prosecutors with a history of supporting illegal aliens to help with the transition. The coveted team featured a U.S. Attorney (Paul Charlton) who refused to prosecute illegal alien and drug smugglers while at the Justice Department, a state attorney general (Grant Woods) cited and fined for knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant and a county attorney (Rick Romley) who characterizes immigration enforcement as McCarthyism, the 1940s and 50s period of intense suspicion in which thousands of Americans were accused of being communists.

With that said, it’s doubtful that Mayor Gordon’s accusations against Sheriff Arpaio have any credibility. After all, the highly popular sheriff is simply enforcing the law while the mayor goes out of his way to break it and protect others who do too.

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