An Arizona sheriff faces criticism after citing a nonexistent law to bolster his claim that he can continue to arrest undocumented immigrants during controversial crime sweeps even without a special agreement with ICE.
The Wall Street Journal has covered the story of Sheriff Joe extensively:
AzCentral.com reports that Arpaio’s staff alleged that the citation came from Cornell’s website:
Those who follow immigration policy in this country certainly know about Sheriff Joe.
Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County which includes Phoenix, has forged a reputation for being perhaps second only to Lou Dobbs in his zeal for staunching illegal immigration.In light of a new offensive by Homeland Security, Arpaio’s deputies no longer have the authority the randomly check the immigration status of people. Yet, the sheriff recently announced that his deputies will continue to round up illegal immigrants in the streets.
The Arpaio document cites a provision of Title 8 of the federal code followed by language that says "state and local law-enforcement officials have the general power to investigate and arrest violators of federal immigration statutes without prior INS knowledge or approval, as long as they are authorized to do so by state law."The sheriff's claim seems odd until one realizes how extensive Cornell's law website is.
So where did this Title 8 surplusage come from? A hate immigration reform website of course:
The interpretation actually originated on the Federation for American Immigration Reform Web site and has been reposted by anti-immigrant and border-control groups. Washington, D.C.,-based FAIR opposes immigration, legal and illegal. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the organization as a hate group, which FAIR vehemently denies.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for FAIR, verified that the language cited in Arpaio's document originated from a legal interpretation the group published in 1999.
Arpaio claims that the legal analysis is sound. Some critics are unimpressed.
Cornell is probably used to false citations and maybe figures the occasional false citation by a crazy sheriff is a small price for making the law easily accessible.