Joe Arpaio: The Illegal-Immigration Enforcement Movement’s Poster Child

Photo Credit: Flickr username, DonkeyHotey

Over the past decade, Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio has played a central role in the movement towards enforcing laws regarding illegal immigration. He has spent 20 years in office as sheriff of the county in the state of Arizona, but has recently been deemed the “poster child” for cracking down on illegal immigration through his tough enforcement on prosecuting undocumented immigrants and conducting raids throughout the county since the passing of SB 1070.

The current heated debate over the relatively new law in the state of Arizona—as well as similar laws implemented in states like Georgia and Alabama—created a polarized population comprised of those who support anti-illegal immigration views and actions and those who consider them racist and demeaning towards immigrants.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is currently running for his sixth term of office as sheriff of Maricopa County. However, after 20 consecutive years in office, Arpaio appears to be dreading the upcoming elections this November as he “gears up” to run against Paul Penzone, the new candidate for sheriff of Maricopa who plans to “restore integrity…[and] make public safety the highest priority.”

It has become evident that Arpaio lacks the support of Latino voters due to his tough efforts to crack down on illegal immigration—an issue that widely affects the Latino population.  In an interview with Fox News LatinoArpaio attempted to deny the blame he has been charged with due to his actions and beliefs by stating, “I’m just the sheriff…I’m just doing my job, I’m not a racist.”

Arpaio also recognizes that there are people and organizations out there that are currently seeking to kick him out of office. Currently, two lawsuits—one of which was presented by the U.S. Department of Justice—have been filed against the sheriff.  They argue that he and his department have violated the civil rights of Hispanics. He has also been accused of blatantly enforcing laws on illegal immigration while disregarding other prominent issues in the county, such as cases dealing with sex crimes and violence towards women.

Needless to say, Joe Arpaio plays a significant role in the current immigration debate since he has become an iconic image of the enforcement movement to terminate—or reduce—illegal immigration into the United States. He has attempted to disguise his true beliefs and views regarding immigration by reiterating that he is nothing more than an enforcer of laws. However, he continues to carry out this enforcement in racist and undignified manners that degrade immigrants in Arizona.

Do you think Arizona can afford to reelect Sheriff Joe Arpaio for yet another term in office during times like these, where law enforcement uses racial profiling and, in come cases, excessive force to target and victimize immigrants?

6 responses to “Joe Arpaio: The Illegal-Immigration Enforcement Movement’s Poster Child

  1. At this point I think Arizona cannot afford to reelect Sheriff Arpaio for another term. I feel like it is necessary for Arizona to try something new and have a new Sheriff. Arpaio states that everything he has done has benefited Arizona’s Maricopa County, but he has actually created more issues that were not there before. Arpaio has come up with laws and regulations that go after illegal immigrants in Arizona and with these laws he has also increased the media attention on the state. Undocumented and documented immigrants are living in fear in Arizona because they are falsely accused of being undocumented. Since Joe Arpaio has been sheriff, I think Arizona has faced controversy and has victimized immigrants. In my opinion if Arizona wants to avoid more controversy and lawsuits, then Joe Arpaio should not be reelected.

  2. People often excuse their behaviors by saying it is simply their “job” or “duty” or in this case, “they are following the law,” but bottom line is, if a person has strong beliefs towards something, they would not deny these beliefs and do the opposite to those beliefs even if they are “just doing their job.” Joe Arpaio has enforced racist and abusive laws for a reason and one reason is that he supports the ideas behind the laws. His intentions have been clear and are even clearer nowadays. For the sake of all the people living in Arizona, documented and undocumented, I hope that this individual is not reelected. If the majority chooses him, he will obviously be reelected but his true feelings and intentions should not be denied. There’s no way to hide his true position in the immigration issue but the danger does not stop there, Arpaio’s attitudes and actions may spread to the rest of the country because as sheriff, he is a “leader” in a community and other “leaders” may follow him.

  3. I feel by focusing a majority of his efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, Joe Arpaio’s efforts can be seen as racist. His tunnel-vision seems to lead to the disregarding of many other important issues. As the sheriff of the county, I believe he should give other issues just as much importance.

  4. Pingback: Joe Arpaio: The Illegal-Immigration Enforcement Movement’s Poster Child | Immigration Talk « DonkeyHotey·

  5. I think he’s right. How dare illegal immigrants expect us to turn a blind eye on their blatant disregard for Americas laws. The nerve.

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