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Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio backs down on immigration. Will others follow?

A federal judge ordered Sheriff Joe Arpaio to stop using race or ancestry to determine who is stopped for questioning. It could affect other states that followed Arizona's lead on illegal immigration.


Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio listens to one of his attorneys during a news conference in Phoenix, in 2012. Arpaio, who led the way for local police across the country to take up immigration enforcement, is reconsidering his crackdowns – and other law enforcement officials who followed his lead are expected to eventually back away, too.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

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After years in the national spotlight for his flashy enforcement of US immigration laws, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is backing off in response to a federal court ruling that his office had discriminated against Latinos.

"There will not be roundups of people because they were in the country unlawfully, period," says Tim Casey, Mr. Arpaio’s lead attorney.

A federal judge ordered Arpaio to stop using race or ancestry to determine which drivers are stopped for questioning under a policy known as “saturation patrols.” The order, issued two weeks ago, dealt a blow to the Phoenix-area lawman that could have a significant ripple effect in states that, like Arizona, have turned to local law enforcement to target illegal immigration.


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