Miss. lawmaker critical of Ariz. sheriff probe

The U.S. House’s judiciary committee also plans to hold a hearing next month on the allegations against Arpaio.

Four Democratic members of the committee, including its chairman, Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, had requested the Justice Department investigation. The 10 Republican congressmen who wrote the letter to Holder are members of the committee.

Others who signed the letter are Reps. Lamar Smith of Texas, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, Trent Franks of Arizona, Elton Gallegly of California, Steve King of Iowa, Ted Poe of Texas, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Gregg Harper of Mississippi and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

Hector Yturralde, president of the Hispanic civil rights group Somos America and a critic of Arpaio, said he believes the letter by the 10 Republicans was a political move aimed at helping a fellow member of the GOP and that Arpaio has targeted people simply because of the color of their skin. “If other agencies in the country are doing this, they should be stopped,” Yturralde said.

Arpaio, who among local police bosses in Arizona has taken the most aggressive approach to immigration enforcement, said the investigation is politically motivated and pointed out that the federal agency that granted him immigration powers had said last year that they knew of no abuses by his deputies.

“I look at this as a political situation. I am not worried,” Arpaio said.

Clarion Ledger
3/19/9