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Five Reasons Racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio Should Not Receive a Presidential Pardon

Last week, President Trump told Fox News that he is “seriously considering” a pardon for former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio, telling the network that the disgraced ex-law enforcement officer “has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration” and “doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.” Arpaio was recently convicted of criminal contempt after he deliberately violated an earlier court ruling that ordered his department to end its practice of illegally detaining people based only on suspicions about their immigration status. In traffic stops, workplace raids, and neighborhood sweeps, Arpaio ordered deputies to target residents solely based on their ethnicity, often detaining people without reasonable suspicion that they were violating any laws that his office was allowed to enforce. The people of Maricopa County paid the price for Arpaio’s pursuit of illegal immigration enforcement policies, suffering damage to community safety. The Justice Department discovered cases where Latina detainees were “denied basic sanitary items” and were “forced to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation” or were put into “solitary confinement for extended periods of time because of their inability to understand and thus follow a command given in English.” In what was called “the biggest misspending of state funds in the history of Arizona,” Arpaio’s department misappropriated tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars meant to improve the county’s jails and used the money to conduct immigration sweeps, investigate Arpaio’s critics, and pay for personal travel. While Trump seems to think that Arpaio is the victim, a presidential pardon for the former sheriff would just be the latest injustice to befall the countless people wronged by his years of racism, lawlessness, and abuse.

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