Sheriff Joe Arpaio Loses Racial Profiling Appeal

Posted September 26, 2012 in Immigration by

Notorious Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio cannot order his henchmen to detain people based solely on suspicion that they are undocumented immigrants, a federal court ruled yesterday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco turned down Arpaio’s appeal of a previous decision that temporarily stopped the self-proclaimed “America’s toughest sheriff” from racial profiling of Latino residents in the state.

A lower court in Phoenix is still deciding a lawsuit brought against Sheriff Joe by a group of Latinos who sued over profiling. In the meantime, the court said, deputies had to stop pulling over anyone they thought might not have paperwork. The San Francisco court upheld the injunction.

The lawsuit alleges that Latinos are being pulled over for no other reason than to check their immigration documents. Over a three year period from 2008 to 2011, 57 percent of people stopped by the Sheriff’s immigration sweeps were undocumented. The trial ended in early August, with no sign of when the judge might make a final ruling. After the class action suit ends, Arpaio faces another suit for profiling brought against him by the U.S. Department of Justice. He also faces a reelection challenge in November.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that police in Arizona may be required by law to check the immigration status of anyone who has legitimately been pulled over for another crime. However, the court throw out other provisions of Arizona’s controversial immigration laws that in effect allowed police to stop anyone they thought they might be able to turn over for deportation. In the past, Arpaio has claimed that his office is “a full-fledged federal immigration agency”

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