Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on SB 1070 Supreme Court decision: 'It was a good ruling'

Demonstrators Protest Against AZ Sheriff Arpaio During His Visit To CA

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during a visit to the Rancho Bernardo Inn on August 10, 2010. Arpaio, who is Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, gained national attention for using deputies to conduct raids to apprehend illegal immigrants and building large outdoor prison tents to house inmates.

Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County who was recently sued for discrimination against Latinos in the community, told KPCC's Larry Mantle that Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070 "was a good ruling.'"

Supreme Court justices decided in a 5-3 vote that law enforcement can continue to check people's immigration status if "reasonable suspicion" exists, upholding the most controversial of the law's four provisions.

Arpaio, sometimes called "America's Toughest Sheriff," has no apparent intention to change the way his department approaches undocumented immigrants. He said he's concerned that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) won't be stringent enough.

"Is ICE going to accept all the illegal aliens that law enforcement comes across with?" Arpaio asked. "They've been accepting all of my cases throughout the years, but are they going to take into custody everybody that law enforcement says is here illegally or is confirmed?"

The May lawsuit against Arpaio accused the sheriff and his department of racial profiling Latinos. Arpaio maintains that the ruling was "politically motivated," adding that the timing of the lawsuit with SB 1070's ruling may be more than coincidence.

"They've been investigating me for three and a half years," Arpaio said. "All at once, they're taking me to court knowing that the 1070 is going down, and I presume it's an election year, so sometimes you're suspect of politics being involved."

Arpaio said he's confident that his deputies will be able to refute any accusations that surface during the lawsuit hearings.


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