Judicial Watch • Feds Investigate Ariz.Sheriff’s Immigration Crackdown

Feds Investigate Ariz.Sheriff’s Immigration Crackdown

Feds Investigate Ariz.Sheriff’s Immigration Crackdown

MARCH 11, 2009

Caving into the demands of an open borders mayor who offers illegal aliens sanctuary, the federal government has launched a civil rights investigation into an Arizona sheriff’s department that enforces immigration law through a federal partnership. 

The U.S. Department of Justice notified Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio this week that it has begun investigating his department over allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures. The probe will focus on whether deputies are engaging in “discriminatory police practices” (racial profiling) during immigration crackdowns. 

The Maricopa Sheriffs Department is the biggest law enforcement agency to participate in a federal program that allows local agencies to enforce immigration laws. The high-profile crackdowns were actually requested by numerous county business owners and city leaders desperate to remedy the illegal immigration crisis that has overwhelmed their border state. 

The sweeps have helped rid the area of numerous illegal aliens—some violent criminals who fell through the cracks—who should have been deported long ago and helped restore much-needed law and order in a Phoenix business district (36th & Thomas) rife with solicitation, trespassing, loitering and public health ordinance violations. 

The Phoenix Police Department has long ignored the crisis in its jurisdiction at the direction of its open borders mayor, Phil Gordon. It was Gordon who demanded that the FBI investigate Arpaio, who was elected to a fifth term in November, for violating the civil rights of illegal aliens during arrests. 

In a letter to former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey last April, Mayor Gordon asked 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 letter went on to say that Arpaio’s actions risk the well being of all residents as well as law enforcement officers. 

Gordon publicly and reluctantly reversed his city’s official illegal immigrant sanctuary status after a Judicial Watch investigation revealed that the city’s police department forbids officers from inquiring about suspects’ immigration status. Judicial Watch threatened a lawsuit and the mayor publicly reversed the policy though he remains a strong advocate of illegal aliens and an adversary of those who enforce immigration laws.  

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