Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County 鈥檚 hero, is now being investigated for alleged civil rights violations. Federal allegations, according to Arpaio 鈥檚 lawyer, include unlawful searches and seizures and a failure to provide basic services to those whose English is limited. ABC News summed it up as, 鈥淚 n short, the Justice Department charges that the sheriff unfairly targets Latinos 鈥? A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and president of LawCrossing.com, says Arpaio is adamant in his defiance. He 鈥檚 right. In early September, Arpaio said, 鈥淭 his is the people of Arizona they are going against, using me as a puppet 鈥 hey 鈥檙 e not going to put handcuffs on this sheriff. I 鈥檓 not going to surrender!鈥? Arizona has been under fire in recent months for its tough stance on allowing illegal immigrants into the country and then the rights police officials have when they suspect one is here illegally. A. Harrison Barnes says this is a historic time and one, regardless of the outcome, that will forever change the way the U.S. handles the growing problem. Arpaio, known for forcing prisoners to wear pink and housing them in 鈥渨 ork farms 鈥?in the dry Arizona heat, insists the Feds should be thanking him for his hard work. The LawCrossing.com founder says Arpaio routinely trains his deputies to use minor infractions, such as traffic stops, as justification for checking one 鈥檚 legal status. His methods have been criticized over the years, but for many, he 鈥檚 the breath of fresh air the legal sector as a whole has needed for a long time. Still, immigration lawyers are watching closely the goings on in Arizona and with Sheriff Arpaio specifically. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton currently has seven lawsuits in front of her filed by immigration attorneys. Bolton issued a preliminary injunction in late July that suspends part of the Arizona law that requires officers to check the status of anyone stopped for a traffic violation. She also blocked a specific section in the law that would have made it a crime to fail to apply for or carry current papers proving one 鈥檚 right to be in the country. It appears Arpaio has, technically, remained in compliance as he doesn 鈥檛 require his officers to check statuses, only trains them to do so. Immigrations rights lawyers say that 鈥檚 not acceptable. Arizona has 6.6 million residents, of which 460,000 are illegal immigrants. The state says illegal immigrants have 鈥渇 ueled a spike in the state 鈥檚 crime rate and put a strain on state resources 鈥?and says it has only attempted to protect its resources because of a 鈥渓 ax federal government enforcement of the southern U.S. border 鈥? The solution is nowhere in sight, at least one that appeases the country in general. It 鈥檚 unlikely there ever will be. The question at hand, along with Arpaio 鈥檚 current quagmire, is whether or not the federal government has the power to override the state law. Lawsuits will likely continue, says Barnes as each side works to protect the rights of all.
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