Things That Matter

He Was Convicted Of Racial Profiling But Now America’s ‘Toughest Sheriff’ Is Running For His Old Job

Self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” Joe Arpaio, is trying to make his comeback two years after he was pardoned by President Trump for illegal racial profiling of Latinos. 

Former Maricopa County Sheriff, failed U.S. Senate candidate, and habitual abuser of power Joe Arpaio announced he will run to regain his old office in 2020.

Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio on Sunday announced he would seek another term as sheriff of Maricopa County, two years after President Donald Trump pardoned him. He had been convicted on charges of criminal contempt related to the hard-line tactics he used to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

“After consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be reelected sheriff,” Arpaio said in a news release Sunday. “Watch out world! We are back!”

“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” he said. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”

Arpaio and his posse of deputies became famous for illegal and racist policies targeting Latinos.

Arpaio was notorious for using large-scale sweeps of Latino neighborhoods and traffic stops of Latino drivers to round up illegal immigrants. The sweeps drained resources from his department and were abhorred by civil liberties advocates and immigration groups, but they brought the publicity-seeking sheriff to national attention.

In a statement accompanying his tweet, Arpaio said he would reopen his tent city jail and resume immigration enforcement.

“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” Arpaio said in the statement. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”

Arpaio was first elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1993 and held the office until he was defeated in 2016. He styled himself as “the toughest sheriff in America” and became known for his “tent city” jail, where inmates wearing old-timey striped uniforms were held in tents in the brutal desert heat.

In a tweet, Arpaio said he already had the backing of “thousands.”

“Thousands want me to run for Sheriff,” Arpaio, 87, announced in a tweet Sunday. “Ready for bruising, bitter campaign. Never back down.”

Following several lawsuits, Arpaio was convicted of unlawful policing techniques and faced six months in prison.

In 2011, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division released a report finding that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “engages in racial profiling of Latinos; unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos; and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about or criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.” 

For the next five years, Arpaio continued to flout orders by federal judges to improve the conditions inside his jails and cease the unconstitutional racial profiling of Latinos, leading to him being found guilty of both civil and criminal contempt of court in 2017.

Arpaio was also a vocal Trump supporter, and a month after his conviction, Trump returned the favor and pardoned Arpaio.

In fact, Joe Arpaio was one of the first politicians to step forward to support the campaign of then-candidate Trump. Arpaio is also a committed birther.

His “Cold Case Posse,” conducted in partnership with the far-right website WorldNetDaily, spent much of the Obama administration “investigating” the authenticity of the president’s birth certificate.

Reactions on Twitter have been overwhelmingly negative.

Even people in his home state don’t want anything to do with Arpaio. 

Many in his home state are still upset because they’re on the hook as taxpayers paying for his illegal activities.

In 2014, a report noted in Reason that Arpaio’s office “has also been guilty of a litany of shenanigans, including stealing documents from a defense attorney, arresting critical journalists, spying on political opponents—and maintaining such lousy jail conditions that they violate inmates’ rights.”

In 2016, after years of scandals and millions upon millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements, voters replaced Arpaio with a Democrat candidate. Let’s hope they make the right decision in 2020. 

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Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

Things That Matter

Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

As the United States ramps up its vaccination program (with more than two million people getting vaccinated each day), many Americans are eager to get that jab in the arm. But who is eligible varies from state to state and sometimes even county to county.

Despite the different eligibility thresholds in each state (depending on age group or risk factors), there is no immigration requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level. However, not all places are following that guideline and some undocumented residents are being incorrectly turned away.

The pharmacy chain Rite Aid is apologizing after two undocumented residents were denied vaccines.

The giant pharmacy chain Rite Aid has apologized to two undocumented immigrants who the company said were “mistakenly” denied COVID-19 vaccinations at Southern California stores. However, since then, the two women have been invited back by Rite Aid to get their vaccinations and the chain has issued an apology.

Rite Aid spokesperson Christopher Savarese described both cases as “isolated” incidents resulting from workers at the stores not following established protocols for vaccine eligibility. The employees will be re-educated on the protocols to make sure everyone is on the same page.

In a statement later sent to ABC News, Rite Aid officials said, “In such an unprecedented rollout, there are going to be mistakes and there will be always areas for providers to improve — we’re seeking out those opportunities every day.”

Savarese added, “This is very important to us that this is corrected. Both of the situations that we’re talking about have been resolved, and both of those people will be getting their vaccine at Rite Aid.”

To clarify, just who is eligible for the vaccine at this moment?

Although vaccine eligibility does vary from state to state, even county to county, there is nothing requiring that someone prove their immigration status to receive a vaccine. Rep. Tony Cárdenas, who represents Los Angeles, told ABC News that the legal immigration status of a person is not supposed to interfere with them getting vaccinated.

“That is not a requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level, and that organization (Rite Aid) has been told very clearly that that was wrong, and they immediately apologized for doing so, but it left the woman very distraught,” Cárdenas told KABC of Rager’s employee.

On Feb. 1, the federal Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that the agency and its “federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants.”

“It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the DHS statement reads.

However, the confusion over whether undocumented immigrants qualify to receive vaccine has continued to occur not only in Southern California, but elsewhere in the country. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley issued an apology to at least 14 people who were rejected Feb. 20 at its vaccination site because they could not provide proof of U.S. residency.

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This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

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