Joe Arpaio is perhaps the country’s most infamous lawman for his tough tactics, especially when it comes to immigration enforcement, after receiving his pardon from the president.
As Filipino American activists stand up against police impunity in the Philippines, many were disappointed about an American law enforcer — as President Donald Trump pardoned former Maricopa Country Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio last week.
Arpaio was convicted earlier this year of criminal contempt of court for defying court orders to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.
“Well, it’s great. I love that president. He supports law enforcement and I’m very humbled. I said publicly, recently pardon or no pardon, I will be with him until the end,” Arpaio said.
From lawmakers to immigrant rights activists, and civil rights groups, the pardon for one of the staunchest advocates of fighting illegal immigration was met with criticism.
“Our communities should not support people like Sheriff Arpiao, these people who treat folks with such inhumanity, as if immigrants are animals,” said Alex Montances from the Filipino Migrant Center. “But the truth is, immigrants are America. They built this country. We shouldn’t be separating our families, we should be keeping them together.
The Filipino Migrant Center has been spearheading the campaign calling on the city of Long Beach to declare itself a sanctuary city.
Days before Trump pardoned Arpaio, Los Angeles joined a lawsuit against the Justice Department over threats to cut federal funding for cities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities.
“It’s great that all of these other cities are being role models, they’re really taking the first step to say they’re going to protect our communities, I think Long Beach, and other places need to follow suits,” said Montances.
While immigration advocates disagree with the pardon, Fil-Am-founded Moms Against Sanctuary States welcomed the news.
Rachel Gunther tells Balitang America that Arpaio served his entire career enforcing immigration law as intended, and that he is a strong element in the anti sanctuary movement.
Arpaio, who was facing a maximum of 6 months in prison, was originally scheduled to be sentenced in October.
He is expected to speak about the pardon and his future plans at a news conference this week.