Though a judge has temporarily blocked the immigration law from taking full effect, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is still doing his job. Furthermore, he is brilliantly doing it within the ridiculous boundaries set by the judge!
Arpaio's crime sweeps tailored to stay within immigration laws
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - He's known for his tough talk and taking tough action when it comes to enforcing illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe Arpaio did it again yesterday. He conducted a crime sweep that resulted in 22 arrests including three illegal immigrants.
Sheriff Arpaio's sweep took place on the same day SB1070 became law despite a federal judge's ruling to block key parts from taking effect. Nine On Your Side wanted to know if his latest sweep violates the judge's order?
Immigration Attorney John Messing sat down with us to watch our Nine On Your Side story showing deputies in action during Thursday's crime sweep. Messing says it does not appear as though Arpaio is violating the judge's order.
Here's why? Sheriff Arpaio, while he invites the eyes of the world to witness his crime sweeps, his tough talk is geared to lead you to believe he's acting above federal authority.
Before dispatching his deputies, Arpaio declared before the eyes of the media, "If we find any illegal aliens they're going to be arrested."
But Arpaio's actions are tailored to avoid that conclusion. Messing is referring to a traffic stop seen in our story. Deputies pull over a suburban for expired tags. Once a lawful stop is made, the deputies then use their police powers to also investigate the driver for state crimes.
These crimes can range from arrest warrants to illegal possession of a firearm. But making an arrest on a criminal violation is key for Arpaio's legal safety net.
"If they're in his jail and the agreement with the federal government as I understand the status of it he has the authority to ask about their immigration status once they're booked in his jail which is exactly what he's talking about," said Messing.
Therefore, Messing says Arpaio's sweeps are separate and apart from the federal judge's order and the issue surrounding SB1070 because Arpaio starts the action with a lawful traffic stop.
However, Messing says Arpaio does cross the legal line when he parades an arrestee in front of the media. But, winning in court favors Arpaio and not an illegal immigrant.
"The individuals who are stopped and detained may have private civil rights violations though it would take a long time to resolve in the courts they're not easy proceedings," said Messing.
Whether Arpaio stays within the law and the judge's order remains to be seen.
Nine On Your Side called the U.S. Attorney's office to ask if they plan to pursue charges of contempt against Arpaio but did not receive a returned phone call by close of business.
Still, other questions remain: Is Arpaio conducting these traffic violation stops to make criminal arrests for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws on his own?
If the feds can prove "yes," that's when Arpaio could face trouble.
Right now, the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU has two pending lawsuits filed against Arpaio.
The Department of Justice is also currently investigating Arpaio for civil rights violations. These lawsuits have been pending for several years now. Still, there's no word yet on when action will be taken, if at all.
Arpaio's crime sweeps tailored to stay within immigration laws - KGUN 9 On Your Side, Tucson News, Weather & Sports