In the letter below, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is responding to the following criticisms from Reverend Al Sharpton. It is unfortunate that the Reverend has wrongly reduced this issue to race, because that focus erroneously clouds and misses all of the pressing issues that are destabilizing U.S. borders.
“I am first calling for the resignation and or removal of Sheriff Arpaio ... harassment based on color is nothing short of racial profiling, which many of us ... helped to fight to make against the law,” Sharpton told reporters.
“Arpaio needs to be confronted, he needs to be removed. ... We also need to suspend the law that he is using. We must stand with our brown brothers and sisters,” Sharpton said.
U.S. Department of Justice officials recently launched an inquiry into Arpaio’s activities. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee also held hearings about the federal program that allows for such enforcement tactics.
April 13, 2009
Reverend Al Sharpton
106 West 145th Street
Harlem, New York City, New York 10039
Fax: 212 690 3070
Dear Reverend Sharpton:
I have read about you with much interest since learning of the protest you plan to lead against me in Maricopa County in June as a way to force my resignation or removal from office.
Your public proclamation leads me to the conclusion: not only do you not understand Arizona; you also do not understand democracy. As the elected Sheriff who, so far has been elected to five consecutive four-year terms, I answer to the four million residents of Maricopa County. I do not answer to the whims of the media, or locally and nationally elected officials who want open borders and who have their own agendas. Nor do I answer to a publicity hound outside interloper who has demonstrated no interest in looking for the truth before making loud uninformed noises.
While your public outcries are colorful, there are several instances where you have inserted yourself into other people’s affairs without knowing any of the facts. Poor judgment has caused you plenty of trouble in the past and promises to do so again. Most earnest people want to learn by their mistakes. You seem to glory in repeating them.
I would like to help you avoid further embarrassment by assisting in your understanding of the illegal immigration problem here in my county. When and if you do make the trip here, I invite you to call me to talk about these false allegations.
We can discuss how my deputies are extensively trained by the federal government to properly combat illegal immigration and how the laws of this state allow this Sheriff’s Office to question and investigate the immigration status of those people deputies detain in the course of our everyday law enforcement duties.
Don’t make the same mistake made by the four Democratic Congressmen calling for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of this office. They and other politicians relied solely on media reports and anti-law enforcement handouts that are replete with inaccuracies. They have brainwashed a handful of local residents to believe these lies. Rest assured that the men and women of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office do not racially profile anyone.
However, we do enforce the state and federal illegal immigration laws. And we will continue to do so as long as these laws are on the books. You can parachute into town, stomp your feet up and down and hold more press conferences against me - that is a hallmark of democracy too - but you will not stop me, nor slow me down for one second, from doing what is right.
Before you bring your circus to town and take to our streets by marching against this Sheriff, let’s get you fully informed for a change. Congressman John Conyers did not have the courtesy to respond to my invitation to visit with me personally. I hope you will consider my invitation. Surely, a man like yourself - a reverend- who famously preaches from the church pulpit understands the infinite wisdom of these words: You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. Let’s talk about the truth, Reverend. I await your response.
Sheriff, Maricopa County