Sheriff Joe Backs Down

In wake of judge's racial profiling ruling, he agrees to stop immigration arrests
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2013 10:42 AM CDT
In this April 3, 2012 file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio listens to one of his attorneys during a news conference in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(Newser) – America's toughest/most controversial sheriff is calling off his crackdown on illegal immigration for at least a week, in response to a court ruling declaring that crackdown unconstitutional. Joe Arpaio's lawyers will discuss the ramifications of that ruling in a hearing on June 14. "We are out of the immigration business until that hearing," an Arpaio spokesman tells the AP. "Until that hearing, better safe than sorry."

Government officials yanked Arpaio's license to enforce federal immigration laws in 2009, but he's kept on making immigration arrests citing Arizona's contested immigration law. While it's been two years since his deputies have conducted a major sweep, Arpaio has kept immigration as a central focus, enforcing the state's immigrant smuggling law as well as a law banning employers from hiring immigrants without proof of their legal status. But Arpaio won't be doing even that more modest enforcement for the time being, and the AP notes that other law enforcement officials are also expected to back off from similar efforts in the wake of the judge's ruling. (Read more Joe Arpaio stories.)

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