Editor’s Note: Reps. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) and Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) sent a letter to President Trump on August 17, urging him not to issue a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It has been reported that the President said that he was “seriously considering” issuing a pardon for Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants. Arpaio faces up to six month’s imprisonment. His sentencing is scheduled for October 5.
Dear President Trump: We are gravely concerned by reports that you are considering a pardon for Joe Arpaio. The former Maricopa County Sheriff was convicted of a serious crime and should pay any fine and serve any sentence in full. We urge you in the strongest possible terms not to grant Mr. Arpaio relief from the penalties he deservedly faces for his illegal conduct and brazen abuse of the public trust.
Last month, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court following his decision to violate a judge’s order compelling his department to cease its unconstitutional immigration enforcement actions. It is worth noting that Arpaio’s own statements played a key role in the conviction, as the former Sheriff had repeatedly declared his intention to flout the law by continuing to illegally detain Latinos in our community. As the judge in the case wrote, “Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise.”
We believe public officials should be held accountable when they commit crimes and that the rule of law should be applied fairly regardless of how powerful an office holder’s friends are.
Unfortunately, this blatant disregard for the law is consistent with a broader pattern of abusive policing practices under his leadership. Indeed, during his tenure, Latinos in Maricopa County were up to nine times more likely to be pulled over than non-Latinos. His department was also determined to have systematically violated the rights of Latinos by the Justice Department in 2011 and by a federal judge in 2013.
We believe public officials should be held accountable when they commit crimes and that the rule of law should be applied fairly regardless of how powerful an office holder’s friends are. By pardoning Mr. Arpaio, an early supporter of your campaign, you would be sending a clear message that your allies are immune from prosecution. More importantly, by exempting Arpaio from the consequences of his actions, you would be violating the basic American principle that those who enforce our laws must also personally abide by them.
Again, we strongly urge you not to grant Mr. Arpaio relief from penalties justly incurred through his own repeated, willful misconduct.
Ruben Gallego is an Arizona Congressman, District 7; Raul Grijalva is an Arizona Congressman, District 3; and Tom O’Halleran is an Arizona Congressman, District 1.
By Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva and Tom O’Halleran