Feds Rein In Fiery Sheriff on Immigration Checks

Joe Arpaio calls officials 'liars,' vows to continue sweeps
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2009 9:44 AM CDT
In this July 23, 2009 picture, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio walks through the command center area at the sheriff's district 1 substation in Mesa, Ariz.   (AP Photo/East Valley Tribune, Ralph Freso)
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(Newser) – The self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” was not pleased. Homeland Security yesterday stripped Joe Arpaio’s deputies of the power to make immigration arrests in the field as though they were ICE agents, sending the flamboyant Phoenix-area cop into a sputtering, rambling outburst, the New York Times reports. “I’m going to continue doing everything I’ve been doing!” Arpaio vowed, declaring himself free of “the federal government and their Mickey Mouse policies!”

He also called the feds “liars,” and called the move part of a political “conspiracy” against him. Arpaio’s sheriff’s department is the most prominent of 66 agencies Homeland Security’s authorized to make immigration arrests. But critics say he’s a crackpot, prone to racial profiling and other abuses of an already oft-abused system. Still, Homeland Security did renew Arpaio’s authority to perform immigration checks on those already in jail.