A federal court found that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio systematically violated the constitutional rights of immigrants through 'saturation' sweeps targeting Hispanics.
A federal court on Friday found that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio systematically violated the constitutional rights of immigrants through "saturation" sweeps that ended up targeting people based on their appearance or perceived ancestry.
The combative, colorful and controversial Mr. Arpaio has over the past decade come to define American anger over illegal immigration as he's aggressively pursued immigration lawbreakers in Arizona's most populous county, corralling a staggering 25 percent of all US immigration arrests per year.
But while Arpaio remains popular among many conservatives for stunts like investigating President Obama's birth certificate and issuing pink underwear to inmates, the court ruling can be seen as part of a broader pushback against aggressive immigration enforcement and growing momentum for a bipartisan solution to America's undocumented immigrant problem with implications both for illegal immigrants as well as Arpaio's own legacy.
The decision, which in essence agreed with an earlier lower court ruling, should be seen as "a warning to any agency trying to enforce 'show me your papers' [state laws] – there is no exception in the Constitution for immigration enforcement," said Cecilia Wang, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, in a statement.