Arizona Has Interesting Campaign Problem When it Comes to Immigration Reform

With an election once again around the corner, Arizona has an interesting campaign problem. It seems the infamous Sheriff Arpaio has violated the Fourth Amendment.

It likely does not come as much of a surprise that Arizona’s Sheriff Arpaio may be in hot water again. Just recently, the Department of Justice issued a report that said he had violated the Fourth Amendment and Title VI because he practiced “unconstitutional policing”. That may well be the case, however it also seems that he keeps getting elected, year after year, because of his unconstitutional approach to keeping crime down.

The major complaint in the report is that the sheriff’s department carries out the most outrageous forms of racial profiling in the nation. In fact, one of the report’s authors commented that he has never seen tactics like this go on in other jurisdictions. This is the first time though that the sheriff has been called out in such a public manner by the current Administration, which may signal a change of policy for the coming election.

Until this report, the response from Capitol Hill has been fairly low key other than launching a challenge to Arizona’s SB 1070 bill. And, until now, the current Administration has been working to expand immigration enforcement with its Secure Communities program.

What we have here is a report generated by an inquiry begun under George W. Bush, released just prior to a critical election, although it may be argued that all elections are critical. With this one however, Obama needs support from the very people he seemingly abandoned by not enacting comprehensive immigration reform – the Latino community.

Here then is an interesting question. How will this report affect Presidential candidates who backed Arpaio? Good question and only time will reveal the voting results for 2012. The major issue is support for Obama, and whether or not this will manifest itself since he did not act on his immigration reform promises. Latinos wanted instant reform, but they got nothing. Thus, this latest condemnation of Arpaio and the Administration, for stumbling ahead and opening the door for more racist practices and discrimination via enforcement, may be all the Latino voting population needs to choose a different candidate.

What we have here is the Department of Homeland Security cutting the sheriff’s access to federal immigration programs because of the report, and quiet elation that the question of immigration reform will once more have to be put back on the table. In other words, while the report slams the sheriff and Obama, it may well accomplish something good. That however, remains to be seen.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit

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