New evidence undermines feds’ case agaianst Arizona

Posted on September 4, 2010

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You’ve heard a lot about the Justice Department’s lawsuit to stop the new Arizona immigration law. But that’s just one part of the Obama administration’s multi-front war on immigration enforcement in Arizona.

In addition to the drive to kill the new law, Attorney General Eric Holder is also suing the Maricopa Community College system in Phoenix, alleging it broke the law by requiring a job seeker to provide a green card before being hired. And on Thursday the Justice Department filed suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, run by the flamboyant Joe Arpaio, as part of an extended investigation into alleged civil rights violations there.

Despite the splash of attention from the newest lawsuit, the Justice Department’s investigation of Arpaio could end badly for Holder. When the Department first informed Arpaio that a probe was under way, back in March 2009, it sent a letter saying the investigation would focus on “alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures.” But now we learn that just six months before that, in September 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, did its own investigation of Arpaio’s office — and gave it a clean bill of health. Arpaio’s lawyers recently got a copy of the ICE report through the Freedom of Information Act.

ICE officials evaluated how the sheriff’s office performed under a law that allows specially trained local law enforcement officers to enforce parts of federal immigration law. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which is the largest sheriff’s office in the Arizona, has 189 officers who have been trained by ICE to enforce federal immigration statutes.

The report, crammed with acronyms and bureaucratese, is not light reading. But struggle through it, and the key sentence is this: “The OI and DRO supervisors consider the conduct and performance of the MCSO … officers to be professional and meeting the requirement of the MOA.” Translated, that means officials from the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Investigation (OI), along with officials from the Detention and Removal Operations office (DRO), concluded that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), in its handling of illegal immigrants, acted in a professional manner and complied with a memorandum of agreement (MOA) under which the government gave them the authority to enforce federal law. That agreement included a ban on racial profiling.

MORE…...washingtonexaminer.com  By Byron York

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