President Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio on Friday, August 25, 2017.
Arpaio, former Arizona sheriff of Maricopa County, was convicted of criminal contempt and racial-profiling. He was sentenced to up to six months in prison, and his pardon was President Trump’s first pardon of his presidency.
Arpaio, 85, was a sheriff for 24 years, from 1993 to 2016, and was re-elected for this position five times.
While sheriff, Arpaio ignored a judge’s order to stop his deputies from patrolling neighborhoods and detaining people while checking for legal status.
It was ruled by an Arizona state judge that Hispanics were disproportionately targeted in these patrols and detainments. There were also claims of racial-profiling involved.
His deputies continued these patrols, despite the court order, for another 18 months. Arpaio later claimed that this violation was “not intentional.”
Arpaio is known for his hard-line stance on immigration. He said of illegal immigrants: “My message is clear: If you come here and I catch you, you’re going straight to jail.”
Arpaio was an early supporter of President Trump during his campaign last fall and continues to back him. He said that he’d “probably do anything for [Trump],” and he finds commonality in Trump’s position on immigration. President Trump believes that it is imperative to deport illegal immigrants, and he advocates for a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to limit illegal immigration.
President Trump hinted at his decision to pardon him at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. He said to the crowd, “You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine… OK? But I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy.”
President Trump pardoned Arpaio, officially, that Friday. In a White House Statement announcing the pardon, it says: “Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.”