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News roundup on Sheriff Joe Arpaio

January 21, 2010

Arizona Republic: Program with Sheriff Joe Arpaio defended by top ICE official

A top U.S. immigration-enforcement official on Wednesday defended a federal program that lets local jail officials from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office check the immigration status of people booked into jail.

During a large protest on Saturday in Phoenix that drew 10,000 people, immigrant-rights advocates called on the Department of Homeland Security to end the program, saying some Valley police officers are engaging in racial profiling by arresting Latinos for minor crimes in order to check their immigration status during the booking process.

But John Morton, the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that is “not in practice what we have seen in the program” known as 287 (g). [Read the rest here.]

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Talking Points Memo: Arpaio – I’ll Cooperate With Federal Probe

Joe Arpaio has said he’ll cooperate with the federal investigation into whether he used his law enforcement powers to pursue political vendettas.

“I look forward to giving (investigators) everything that we have,” the controversial Maricopa County sheriff said over the weekend, according to a Phoenix TV station. “Everything on all of the investigations, then I’m going to shut this off.”

It’s not clear what Arpaio meant by “shut this off.”

A grand jury met last week for the first time in connection with the Justice Department probe. Numerous local officials, judges, and others have said that Arpaio targeted them for investigations after they crossed him.

Arpaio has sent mixed signals about his approach to the inquiry. He initially said he’d cooperate, but then hired a former Bush DOJ lawyer who has filed a series of what some call frivolous complaints, which appear designed to throw sand in the gears of the probe.

And now he appears to have once again signaled a willingness to cooperate.

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