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Arpaio and Obama: Working Together to Violate Latinos’ Civil Rights

Arpaio and Obama: working together to violate Latinos' civil rights

The Department of Justice just released a damning report on  Joe Arpaio, the sherriff of Maricopa County in Arizona. The investigation, which began in June of 2008, concluded today, amongst other things, that:

“…we find that MCSO…engages in racial profiling of Latinos; unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos; and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about or criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.

…we find that MCSO…routinely punishes Latino LEP inmates for failing to understand commands given in English and denies them critical services provided to other inmates, all in violation of Title VI and its implementing regulations.

Important to note is the DOJ’s investigation found that MCSO’s “immigration-related crime suppression activities” were based on nothing but the color of people’s skin or the fact that they spoke Spanish. The DOJ also found that a high number of stops and detentions related to immigration “sweeps” lacked legal justification.

Why is the latter important? Because throughout the DOJ investigation, ICE, an agency under the control of the Executive Branch, was working closely with Arpaio’s office through a 287g agreement. For those who do not know, local law enforcement agencies may be given immigration enforcement authorities if they sign an agreement with ICE, which is allowed by Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act.


The latest Memorandum of Agreement, or MOA, between ICE and Joe Arpaio was signed on September 30, 2009, well after the DOJ investigation began. In this agreement, the parameters of who is responsible for what and who can do what are delineated.

Part X of the MOA describes ICE supervision of MCSO personnel: “The actions of participating MCSO personnel will be reviewed by ICE supervisory officers on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance with the requirements of the immigration laws and procedures and to assess the need for individual training or guidance.” (emphasis added)

Part XIV of the MOA requires that all MCSO personnel comply with federal civil rights laws, regulations, guidance and guidance relation to nondiscrimination.

Finally, the agreement required at least one meeting a year between the ICE field director of Phoenix to, in part, “ensure  compliance with the terms  of  this  MOA.”

It turns out that MCSO was not in compliance with the terms of their MOA, if we are to believe what the DOJ has said today. The burning question is this:

Given that MCSO was the subject of two Department of Justice investigations , why did the federal government, via ICE, aid and abet the consistent and ongoing gross violations of Latinos’ civil rights? Because all of a sudden, ICE’s top boss, Janet Napolitano, cares about civil rights? Napolitano stated today: 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is troubled by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) findings of discriminatory policing practices within the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).   Discrimination undermines law enforcement and erodes the public trust.  DHS will not be a party to such practices. Accordingly, and effective immediately, DHS is terminating MCSO’s 287(g) jail model agreement…

The answer to the question above may be gleaned from the second half of the press release:

The Department will continue to enforce federal immigration laws in Maricopa County in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens, recent border crossers, repeat and egregious immigration law violators and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor.”

In other words, ICE will not have the official tie of a signed agreement with Sheriff Joe, but will still work closely with MCSO when it comes across purported criminal aliens.

Given the magnitude of the DOJ’s findings, it is particularly arrogant of ICE to admit that immigration enforcement is more important than eliminating the ongoing miscarriages of justice against Latinos in Maricopa County.

Today’s events are  just another indicator of how President Obama is the ultimate bureaucrat, intent on retaining power for its own sake, not for promoting policy for those that put him into office in the first place.

Put bluntly: President Obama does not care about civil rights. He does not care about immigration reform. All that he does is limited to the purpose of him being re-elected.

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