Friday, February 6, 2009

Sheriff Joe's Latest Publicity Stunt

Years ago Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, won the reputation of "the toughest sheriff in the country" by housing county prisoners in a tent city where they wore prison stripes and live on a baloney sandwich diet. His treatment of prisoners is under review in federal court. Now -- naturally before the TV cameras -- he has marched 200 detainees waiting for deportation into a portion of his tent city -- appropriately dressed in prison stripe and ready for a baloney taco diet. (See Arizona Republic article.) The New York Times deplored the program called 287(g) that partners ICE with local law enforcement agencies such as the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. It also is nervous that new Secretary of Homeland Security, who as governor did not come down on Sheriff Arpaio's antics because they were popular, has initiated a review of the program with an an eye to expanding it. The Obama administration is yet to get a handle on ICE policies and to curb its heavy handedness. A good place to start would be coming down on Sheriff Joe.

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