Arizona Sheriff, U.S. in Standoff Over Immigration Enforcement


MIRIAM JORDAN
Wall Street Journal
February 15, 2010

An Arizona sheriff said he planned to defy Washington’s attempts to roll back his staunch enforcement of federal immigration law, a move that could put him on a collision course with the U.S. government.

[efoods]Late last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the largest arm of the Department of Homeland Security, stripped Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the authority to use 100 of his deputies to enforce federal immigration in his jurisdiction, which includes Phoenix. The customs agency took the action because Mr. Arpaio’s aggressive immigration crackdowns had drawn criticism from human-rights groups and had run afoul of the U.S. Justice Department, which is investigating whether he has used racial profiling and abused his authority.

In an interview this week, Mr. Arpaio said he would ignore Washington’s effort to clip his powers and would train all of his 881 deputies to enforce federal immigration law on the streets.

“We have the inherent right to enforce federal immigration law,” Mr. Arpaio said. “If Washington doesn’t like it, I recommend they change the laws.”

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