Congress Goes After Joe Arpaio

Chances are you’ll recognize Joe Arpaio by name. And if you don’t, his bio is likely to jog your memory. Known as ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff,’ Arpaio has angered the liberal Democrats in Congress with his tough-on-criminals approach. And now they plan to go after him:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and three fellow Democrats want the Department of Justice to investigate civil rights complaints against controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio…

Conyers and his fellow committee members accuse Arpaio of ordering deputies to search largely Hispanic neighborhoods in and around Phoenix for illegal immigrants. Those in the Hispanic community, the lawmakers wrote, “feel under siege.”

Arpaio has denied wrongdoing, and he has praised the federal agreement, which has let his deputies arrest illegal immigrants. Arpaio told Arizona reporters he is worried Napolitano, who until being tapped by President Obama was Arizona’s governor, will reverse the policy.

Napolitano has asked for a review of the agreement, which allows local jurisdictions to enforce immigration laws, to inspect whether the program is being applied uniformally across the country.

Arpaio is accused of searching for illegal immigrants in and around Hispanic communities. But assuming that he is putting more resources into Hispanic communities, it’s presumably because that’s where his experience has shown more illegal immigrants to reside or congregate, rather than because he has an ax to grind with Hispanics. If for example, the data showed that illegal immigrants were more likely to be found in a caucasian community, I would expect Arpaio to search there, instead. But if critics want Arpaio to devote as much effort to apprehending illegal immigrants where they are rarely found, they’re not likely to get much sympathy from taxpayers who keep re-electing him.

Beyond that, it’s becoming clear that the newly-empowered Democrats in Washington are giddy with power and eager to use it to silence opposition. In just the last week, we’ve seen talk of reviving the Fairness Doctrine, and an effort by labor unions to impose a gag rule on financial institutions. Add that to the push for prosecution of those engaged in the War on Terror, and the continued pursuit of former administration officials over their communications with the president, and it’s clear that Congress wants to use the power of the state to silence those with whom they disagree.

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