Six-term Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio, in the midst of a contested seventh-term political race to hold unto his office, is awaiting word from Federal Judge Murray Snow about whether Arpaio will have to spend time in jail for criminally contempt of court. The judge is contemplating whether to refer Joe Arpaio for criminal prosecution for ignoring the judge’s orders to end profiling Hispanic drivers in Maricopa County. Arpaio, best known for forcing prisoners to wear pink underwear in his jails, has insisted on violating the rights of Hispanics on the mistaken belief that he is best equipped to decide who is undocumented or not simply by the color of their skin.
In many ways, Joe Arpaio is the very epitome of what a Donald Trump administration will look like. Arpaio, like Trump, has taken the complex issue of immigration and used it to scapegoat immigrants for political votes. The result is that many Hispanics ended up being targeted by overzealous deputies who disregarded basic legal protections in order to score political points for their sheriff. Arpaio created an environment where US-born Hispanics did not feel at home in the land where they were born and who they pledged allegiance to.
Even when Joe Arpaio was ordered by the federal government to protect the rights of US citizens, he ignored the judge and decided instead that skin color was the only true determinant of who belonged in Maricopa County and who did not. To Arpaio violating the very basic rights every US citizen has, was the only way to address the problem of immigration.
As if the erosion of common decency and basic human rights was not enough, Arpaio has cost his constituency over $10 million to settle the case brought by Latinos just to keep his political star rising. His elective office was supported by the same loud xenophobic minority that supports Donald Trump today. These costs are in addition to the legal fees incurred by Maricopa taxpayers to litigate the cases and in addition to another $4.5 million in additional costs they are being asked to pay.
Arpaio has been stumping for Donald Trump and even spoke at the Republican convention, firing up the crowd around the notion that Trump will build a wall on the US-Mexico border. Joe Arpaio attempted to create a Latino-free fiefdom in Maricopa County by basically suspending the constitutional rights of Hispanics in the United States.
Joe Arpaio is a snapshot of what the US will look like if Donald Trump were elected in November.
All of the violations of human decency and constitutional rights as well as ignoring orders from a federal judge revolve around the notion that in Joe Arpaio’s mind, Hispanics and Latinos do not belong in Maricopa County. Regardless of the posturing, this is the true underlining thing in the minds of people, like Joe Arpaio, who clearly has no respect for the rule of law, especially when it comes to Hispanics in their midst.
For that reason alone, I hope to witness Joe Arpaio being paraded into jail in pink panties, at least for a day. Oh wait, I just decided what my next cartoon will be. Stay tuned.