The ACLU’s and DOJ’s war on a brave patriot.
Joe Arpaio has been the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes the city of Phoenix and is near the Mexican border, for 23 years. He is up for re-election this year and has just emerged victorious in a challenging primary against three rivals. In the general election for sheriff, however, polling data indicate that he would be trailing Democrat opponent Paul Penzone by several percentage points. Arpaio's foundering poll numbers are due, in large measure, to an ongoing smear campaign by the ACLU and the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ), falsely portraying him as a racist.
Arpaio is best known for his tough stance on border security, as articulated by his assertion that “Nothing is going to stop me from cracking down on illegal immigration as long as the laws are there.” For the ACLU and the DOJ, however, such words amount to nothing more than admissions of bigotry against Latinos, who constitute the vast majority of illegal border-crossers in Arizona.
The ACLU's contempt for Arpaio dates back many years, but things came to a head in 2008. After two years during which the illegal-immigrant population of Arizona had grown by an astounding 70%, illegals in Maricopa County constituted fully one-tenth of the county's population and 22% of its felons. Thus a coalition of small-business owners in Phoenix, whose livelihoods were being impacted by an ever-rising level of criminal activity by local illegals, formally implored Sheriff Arpaio “to restore law and order to this area.” Arpaio responded with an aggressive crackdown.
This didn't sit well with the ACLU, which collaborated with Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF) and a white-shoe law firm to initiate a class-action suit alleging that Arpaio and his officers were guilty of using racial profiling as the sole basis for many traffic stops of drivers hailing from Central America. Further, in 2009 the ACLU complained that an anonymous telephone tip line which Arpaio had set up for anyone wishing to report immigration-law violations, was likely to generate “false, inaccurate and racially motivated reports.” Notably, the ACLU made no mention of the fact that its close allies in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division had set up their own anonymous tip line where illegal immigrants could register complaints about Arpaio.
Much of the ACLU's contempt for Arpaio stems from the sheriff's well-documented opposition to the “sanctuary” policies that bar police and other public-sector employees in some 340 U.S. cities from notifying the federal government about the presence of illegal aliens in their communities. As such, these policies defy the Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigrant Responsibility Act that Congress passed twenty years ago to require that local governments cooperate with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
On the premise that illegals who are crime victims are less likely to contact law-enforcement if they fear possible deportation, the ACLU characterizes sanctuary policies as “commonsense measures to build community trust and ensure that crime victims cooperate with the police.” This raises the question of whether the ACLU would deem it appropriate to apply this same standard to crimes of every type – a standard which argues that the best way to ensure that criminals and fugitives will “cooperate with the police” is to decriminalize all of their offenses.
After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act” in 2015, ACLU legislative counsel Joanne Lin urged the Senate to reject this “misguided legislation” on grounds that it “criminalizes immigrant communities, jeopardizes public safety, and undermines the ability of local police to combat crime and safeguard against racial profiling.”
By no means was this the first time the ACLU had come out in favor of ignoring or defying immigration law. In 2012 the organization supported President Obama's lawless “Deferred Action” executive orders (DACA and DAPA), which guaranteed, without Congressional approval, that millions of illegals would be granted legal status, work permits, access to certain publicly funded social services, and protection from deportation. By the ACLU's reckoning, DACA and DAPA “allow families to come out of the shadows,” “lift [themselves] up out of poverty,” and escape “the constant stress and unrelenting fear of deportation.”
The ACLU's lawsuit against Arpaio has gone through many twists and turns since 2008. Traffic-stop data which was released earlier this year showed that people of Hispanic origin were being stopped with disproportionate frequency by law officers in Maricopa County, and a court interpreted this as evidence of racial bias and profiling. As punishment, the ACLU wants Arpaio to be forced to pay “$300,000 … of his personal funds” to the individuals who were allegedly affected by the profiling, and also to “donate” – along with his chief deputy – another $100,000 “to a civil rights organization working with the Hispanic community.” In other words, the ACLU wants Arpaio to subsidize a left-wing, open-borders group whose politics are in line with those of the ACLU or MALDEF.
Moreover, the ACLU has pushed for “criminal contempt” charges to be filed against Arpaio for failing to rectify the alleged profiling in a timely fashion. Just last Friday, the Public Integrity Section of the Obama Justice Department's Criminal Division announced that it will be directly handling the investigation and possible criminal prosecution of Arpaio.
This is the same Justice Department that recently decided not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for undeniably, feloniously transmitting and receiving 2,000+ pieces of classified government information via a private, unsecured email server, in direct violation of the Espionage Act.
Two defendants, two entirely different standards of justice. That, more than anything, signals the point at which a constitutional republic descends to the status of a banana republic.