Ariz. Sheriff Defies Feds with Immigration Sweep

Arpaio continues arresting suspected illegal immigrants despite loss of powers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 9:00 PM CDT
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 "toughest sheriff in America" isn't going to let anything stop him enforcing the law—not even the law. Joe Arpaio launched crime and immigration sweeps in Phoenix yesterday in defiance of a federal order stripping his deputies of the right to make immigration arrests in the field. "it doesn't bother me, because we are going to do the same thing," Arpaio said. "I am the elected sheriff. I don't take orders from the federal government."

The sheriff's office is being investigated for alleged racial profiling and unconstitutional searches and seizures. Arpaio insists he can still arrest suspected illegal immigrants under a state smuggling law and a federal law, although his interpretation of federal law appears to have come from a document found by a staff member on an anti-immigration website, according to the Arizona Republic.