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 Latino, Arpaio 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?