Sheriff Joe Arpaio rides atop a military-style amphibious vehicle in a 2009 parade.
A huge rally will converge in Phoenix on Saturday with activists calling for federal action to address Arizona’s immigration problems. At the center of it all is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man accused of racial profiling in his notorious crusade against undocumented immigrants.
Many see Arizona as ground zero in the ongoing national debate over illegal immigration and immigrants’ rights. —JCL
When activists from around the country rally for immigrants’ rights Saturday, it’s no coincidence that they’ll converge here.
Arizona is the flash point of the immigration debate, a place where high levels of illegal immigration have led to state and local restrictions, most recently a law that requires government workers to report illegal immigrants seeking public benefits.
Perhaps the most visible figure in Arizona’s immigration politics is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He has won praise and condemnation for having deputies swarm neighborhoods, stopping people in search of criminals and illegal immigrants.
His department is under investigation by the Justice Department for allegations of racial profiling and discrimination based on national origin.