Donald Trump strongly hinted on Tuesday night that he would pardon Joe Arpaio. Whether Trump follows through on the pardon is immaterial because even having the discussion demonstrates the hypocrisy of the immigration debate. Opponents of immigration usually argue that they support immigrants if they “do it the right way” and “follow the law”. Most debates about immigrants centers on the “we are a country of laws” argument. That is until the law is an inconvenience. Joe Arpaio proves this.
As you likely know, Joe Arpaio, the former controversial sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, was found guilty of criminal contempt in July. Judge Susan Bolton found Arpaio guilty for defying a 2011 order from a judge ordering Arpaio to stop profiling Hispanics and turning them over to immigration officials. Arpaio is scheduled to be sentenced on October 5 for his crime.
Joe Arpaio is a criminal.
Arpaio is no petty criminal who stole a candy bar or speeded down the highway. Joe Arpaio did not unknowingly violate the law. What made Joe Arpaio a criminal is intentionally defying a judge’s order. Arpaio decided that he was above the law.
On March 2012, Joe Arpaio admitted targeting Hispanics in defiance of the court’s order. Arpaio told television viewers that “if they don’t like what I’m doing, get the laws changed in Washington.”
Clearly, Joe Arpaio believes that if the law does not fit his world view he doesn’t have to follow the law.
Donald Trump likes to blame Hispanic judges for issuing court orders based on their national heritage so it is important understand that Arpaio violated a court order from Judge G. Murray Snow and was found guilty of doing so by Judge Susan Bolton. Cleary there is no inherent national heritage bias against Arpaio.
The laws that Joe Arpaio was supposed to uphold and Arpaio demands that immigrants follow are the laws that ruled that he is a criminal. There is no ambiguity.
But because it is Joe Arpaio and he demonized immigrants and persecuted them, in violation of the law, it is ok for him to break the law. That is the message that Donald Trump will send via a pardon and the message Arpaio’s supporters send send us today.
In other words, immigrants should follow the law but anti-immigrants are excused from adhering to the law. That is the perfect example of hypocrisy.