President Donald Trump has just officially pardoned 85-year-old Joe Arpaio. The former Arizona sheriff who became the face of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration has been spared a jail sentence for Criminal Contempt related to his tactics for going after illegals.
Both the president and the former sheriff see his prosecution as “a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!” The White House released a statement late on Friday:
“Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the statement read. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
President Trump also released a Tweet about the pardoning:
I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2017
The decision has already been met with cries of outrage from activist groups and civil rights groups who accuse Arpaio of violating the Constitution in his crackdown on illegal immigration. The ACLU has been quick to condemn the decision:
“Once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and have been struck down by the courts,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a statement. “His pardon of Arpaio is a presidential endorsement of racism.”
But supporters are still adamant that the decision to prosecute Arpaio was a political one. He was found guilty of disregarding a court order in a racial-profiling case which led to the Criminal Contempt charge. Advocates suggest that it was his effectiveness in actually carrying out the law that set the charges in motion as a message to all: Accept Illegal Immigration, or else!
US District Judge Susan Bolton who found the former Sheriff guilty said:
“Not only did (Arpaio) abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business, as usual, no matter who said otherwise.”
Arizona Senator and failed presidential candidate, John McCain was quick to condemn Arpaio and the decision to pardon him:
“No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold.”
“Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders,” McCain said. “The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”
It is not Joe Arpaio’s tactics that have changed and become “illegal”, it is the definitions of what is and is not acceptable in the modern “progressive” age. The reality is that Sheriff Joe was one of the only truly effective lawmen in cracking down on illegal immigration, and this was his crime.