Our VoiceImmigration

Cross-post: Arpaio Faces New Setback


Imagine 2050 Staff • Jan 01, 2012

Originally posted on Huffington Post on December 24.

America’s self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” has been dealt another setback to his immigration enforcement efforts by a federal judge’s ruling that bars deputies from detaining people based solely on the suspicion that they’re in the country illegally.

The ruling issued Friday sets the stage for a possible trial in a lawsuit that alleges racial profiling in the patrols in Arizona’s Maricopa County, and would further limit Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration authority after Washington yanked his federal powers earlier this month.

Lawyers pushing the lawsuit on behalf of five Latino clients also won class-action status that lets other Hispanics join the case if they have been detained and questioned by Arpaio’s deputies as either a driver or passenger in a vehicle since January 2007.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow hasn’t yet ruled on the ultimate question of racial profiling, but notes the case’s evidence could lead a judge or jury to conclude that Arpaio’s office racially profiles Latinos.

“Sheriff Arpaio has made public statements that a fact-finder could interpret as endorsing racial profiling,” Snow said.

The judge noted that the sheriff has said that even without authority to enforce federal immigration laws, his officers can detain people based upon their speech or they appear to be from another country.

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