Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has attracted admirers, critics, and the media for his hard anti-illegal immigration stance in Maricopa County, said Tuesday that federal officials had taken away his authority to conduct street patrols looking for undocumented immigrants.
As documented in a NOW on PBS report, The Department of Homeland Security had created a program, authorized by law in 1996, that allowed local and state police forces to make immigration arrests. On Tuesday, Arpaio called Homeland Security officials "liars" and vowed to continue his campaign using state laws.
NOW on PBS, Exposé and local reporters from the East Valley Tribune collaborated to cover this story earlier this year, asking if the hard-line sheriff was crossing the line when it comes to immigration enforcement.
The most controversial part of that program was a contentious interview between Arpaio and NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa. In the interview, Arpaio defends his tactics. The PBS Ombudsman later weighed in on whether or not the interview was biased.
According to The New York Times, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wrote to President Obama last week, urging him to “immediately terminate” the program. The Times also reports that the Government Accountability Office found the program had not been closely supervised and resulted in the arrest of mostly minor offenders. The county's program is also being investigated by the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
Watch the full interview between Sheriff Arpaio and Maria Hinojosa:
Related: NOW on PBS "Issue Clash": Illegal Immigration