Washington, D.C. — Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-styled “America’s Toughest Sheriff”—and one of the most virulently anti-immigrant figures in modern history—received a pardon earlier today from President Donald Trump. Arpaio led the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) from 1993 until 2016. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that the MCSO engaged in discriminatory policing practices, and, in 2013, a federal court agreed, ruling that Sheriff Arpaio’s officers intentionally engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling and pretextual stops under his supervision. Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
Pardoning Sheriff Arpaio is the next step in President Trump’s pursuit of the politics of division and recklessness that was so palpably evident in the aftermath of the Charlottesville protests. Sheriff Arpaio’s history of discrimination and hateful rhetoric toward communities of color in Arizona has been documented time and again, specifically around his vigorous use of the 287(g) program, through which his officers were deputized to enforce federal immigration law—a task they undertook with reckless disregard for the constitutional rights of Arizona residents as well as their public safety and general welfare. Coming from an administration that has itself repeatedly shown disregard for constitutional constraints and the value of an independent judiciary, it comes as little surprise that President Trump has pardoned a man who was found guilty for notoriously flouting federal court orders commanding him to cease his unconstitutional conduct.
Center for American Progress experts are available to speak on this topic. To coordinate, please contact Tanya Arditi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-741-6258.