Under a two-year-old agreement with the federal department of homeland security, Arpaio and his deputies had been authorised to enforce federal immigration law by arresting suspected illegal immigrants in the field and by checking the immigration status of people arrested on other offences.
Sheriff JOE ARPAIO (Maricopa County, Arizona): They don't tell me what to do. I'm the elected sheriff. This is all politics - everything. They've started out by the Obama administration's first 60 days in the administration going after me with the attorney general of the United States.
RAZ: Sheriff Arpaio, as you know, there have been plenty of studies that show that a large segment of illegal immigrants in detention have not committed any violent crimes. I'm wondering if your pursuit of nonviolent people who violated immigration laws means that you haven't been able to crackdown on real violent criminals.
Sheriff ARPAIO: Well, you know what? Then let's quit locking up DUIs, prostitutes, all those misdemeanors, which 51 percent of the people in my jails that are booked there by all law enforcement are misdemeanors. So why - and by the way, those that we arrest, the majority are human smuggling violations, 1,600 is a class 4 felony. When we go into workplaces, the majority of people we arrest that are illegal have phony identification, that's why we're number one in the nation. This is just a copout by the open border people, saying he should be going after the violent criminals.
"I always vote a straight party line. Always Democrats. I have no time for Republicans," he said. Then after a pause, he continued, "Except for Arpaio. As long as he keeps harassing the wetbacks, he's got my vote."
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