by Fleur Magbanua-Mansur, ABS-CBN News
PHOENIX, AZ — Former Maricopa sheriff Joe Arpaio who served the for two decades, and earned the title “America’s toughest sheriff” for enforcing his policies, has been convicted of criminal contempt by a federal judge in Arizona.
The reason — Arpaio continued to detain immigrants, mostly Latino drivers who could not present legal status, despite being issued a federal court order in 2011 that he and his deputies needed to stop such acts of racial profiling.
He could face up to six months in jail plus a monetary fine.
“There are illegal immigrants in this country but everyone is trying to live a better life. You don’t know for sure,” said Javier Petty. “Just racial profiling and targeting based on hunches, it’s harassment. My mom, she’s pulled over just because someone thought she’s illegal, I’ll be upset. She’s earned her citizenship.”
Immigration lawyer Lemuel Carlos is relieved that Arpaio is finally found guilty and that the latter could no longer terrorize the community.
“Filipinos unfortunately were also targeted. Unfortunately a lot of us in the Filipino community tend to not speak out about the injustice but many of us were affected,” he said.
Atty. Carlos said many families were separated as a result of Arpaio’s actions and hopes for a better solution to Arizona’s border problems.
“I’d like to think that this is clear message specially to the current sheriff that this type of behavior cannot be tolerated, and will not be tolerated for the by the people of Arizona — we are a border state but we need to come up with a more humane solution rather than ripping families apart.”
Arpaio admitted to violating the order, but claimed that it was unintentional. Sentencing of the former sheriff is scheduled for October 5th.