Update 5:30 pm EST: Arpaio’s renewed Cooperation Agreement with DHS confirmed. Defiant Arpaio “sweeps” to take place this evening in Surprise, AZ.
News is expected to break today that the Obama administration will grant federal immigration law enforcement authority to this guy:
“I will do another crime suppression very soon to show Washington and everybody else I’m not changing, I will not be intimidated by Congress, by alleged racial profiling investigations by the Justice Department, by all these demonstrators, these politicians, all trying to keep me from doing my job, so nothing will change. Stay tuned.”
Introducing Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.
Small-town, crazy man? Nope – Arpaio is the chief law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction larger than that of 48 US Senators, and though it might sound like something an Alabama politician would have said in 1948, Arpaio said it about a week ago.
Arpaio picks a predominantly Latino community, and unleashing officers and his “posse” (the official name) of armed deputized citizens demanding to see proof of legal status from Latinos. A broken tail light in Maricopa might result in an hour-long interrogation or the deportation of your cousin. And Arpaio has announced that he is doing one of these sweeps TODAY.
This stuff can’t be made up: under investigation by the Justice Department and the FBI, sued thousands of times for civil rights violations and racial profiling; marches chain gangs through town; and his jails have lost their health accreditation. He even forces prisoners to wear pink underwear and eat green bologna sandwiches. He calls the press, laughs about it, exploits the racial divide and gets reelected.
All of this has brought him notoriety among a certain set. He has been praised on white nationalist websites and was named honorary chair of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign.
Arpaio’s tactics are the realization of the right-wing immigration strategy called “attrition through enforcement,” which basically means that to clean the streets of “illegals” you scare the shit out of immigrant families and keep entire communities in a state of constant terror to the point that they “self deport.” But you can’t terrorize a mom and not terrorize her US citizen daughter, so you terrorize them all.
Arpaio is working with the federal government under the auspices of a section of immigration law called “287(g).” It was created by the Republican Congress and signed by the Clinton administration in 1996, but it wasn’t until the Bush era that the program really got going.