President Trump Pardons Controversial Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio
This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.
President Trump released a statement noting, among other things, that throughout his time as sheriff, Mr. Arpaio “continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.” The statement, noting that Mr. Arpaio had provided more than 50 years “of admirable service to our Nation,” said he is a “worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
Mr. Arpaio, who had been sheriff of Maricopa County for 24 years, was convicted in July of criminal contempt for violating a court order to stop detaining people unconstitutionally without charges based on Latino ethnicity and a belief that they were in the United States illegally. Mr. Arpaio had vowed to continue detaining people, making various statements over the years that drew publicity along with his actions, such as that he would not “back down” and would “never give in to control by the federal government.” He detained hundreds of undocumented immigrants in a jail he called a “concentration camp” and forced them to wear pink underwear.
Reaction was swift and widespread. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tweeted that “POTUS’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, who illegally profiled Latinos, undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law.” A spokesperson for Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that Rep. Ryan “does not agree with this decision. Law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) said Democrats are “sick to our stomach.” Phoenix mayor and Democrat Greg Stanton said, “Pardoning Joe Arpaio is a slap in the face to the people of Maricopa County, especially the Latino community and those he victimized as he systematically and illegally violated their civil rights.”
Mr. Arpaio said he was grateful to President Trump, tweeting his thanks to the President “for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!”
Read a copy of the pardon here.