National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Ahead of Iowa Debate: Clear Choice on Immigration for GOP Hopefuls

December 15, 2011

Endorse Shameful Abuses or Support Common-Sense Immigration Approach

Washington, D.C.The National Immigration Forum applauds the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) findings of the three-year civil rights investigation of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The DOJ report is the federal government’s “harshest rebuke” of Arpaio. According to the report, a leading expert “concluded that this case involves the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he has ever personally seen in the course of his work, observed in litigation, or reviewed in professional literature.” The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

“Today’s Justice Department findings confirm what the American public had already suspected: Sheriff Arpaio has been more concerned with headlines than the Constitution and the law. The DOJ’s scathing report found that Sheriff Arpaio and his office have engaged in a widespread pattern of racial profiling and discrimination against Latinos.

We not only applaud DOJ’s thorough investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, but also hail Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s prompt termination of the MCSO’s 287(g) agreement, which delegates authority for immigration enforcement to local officials, and restriction of the MCSO’s access to the Secure Communities program.

Sheriff Arpaio’s utter disregard of individuals’ civil rights as demonstrated by today’s findings is damning and shameful and calls into question his suitability to serve as sheriff. The residents of Maricopa County deserve a sheriff who will respect the Constitution and keep them safe. It is clear that Sheriff Arpaio is unable to meet this standard and is no longer fit to protect and serve the Valley of the Sun.

It is noteworthy that several Republican presidential candidates have rushed to secure Sheriff Arpaio’s endorsement. We urge them now to take another course of action, one that is only fitting given today’s presidential debate in Iowa.

GOP hopefuls must unequivocally reject anti-immigrant policies and practices and instead heed the sane, sensible and compassionate voices of Iowa who just this week endorsed the Iowa Compact, calling for a solutions-oriented dialogue on immigration. The Compact, a bipartisan effort led by state leaders from business, law enforcement and faith communities, supports common-sense immigration policies that secure our borders, keep families together and meet the nation’s economic needs.

Iowa voters look to the Des Moines Partnership and other Iowa business leaders for leadership on smart, rational immigration reform, not sheriffs who trample on our nation’s Constitution.

The time has come for Arpaio to bow out. The time has come for candidates to act responsibly. Our nation needs to embrace practical federal solutions that value and respect immigrants and immigration in America. We can and should do better.”

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