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Congressman Ruben Gallego

Representing the 7th District of Arizona

Arizona Congressmen to Trump: Don’t Pardon Joe Arpaio

August 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Reps. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) and Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) sent a letter to President Trump, urging him not to issue a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Earlier this week, Fox news 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.

The full text of the letter is below.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) said, “Joe Arpaio’s immigration policies were a racially-motivated breach of justice. He trampled on civil rights and encouraged his deputies to sweep communities and provoke fear among good, hardworking people – even after a federal judge ordered him to stop these unlawful and unconstitutional practices. He shouldn’t be let off the hook for his crimes just to buy Donald Trump some bonus points with his most racist supporters.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) said, “It is a profound assault on our democracy for Donald Trump to grant, or even consider granting former Sheriff Arpaio a presidential pardon. For decades, communities across Maricopa county and Arizona were victimized by his racist practices. Arpaio held a total disregard for our judicial system and to this day fails to accept responsibility or even acknowledge his wrong-doings. All of that merits no presidential pardon. For Donald Trump to grant him leniency gives racist, hatred-filled, and extremist individuals and groups an unequivocal endorsement in continuing with their dangerous practices.”

Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) said, “It is imperative for a society to hold elected leaders to the highest level of accountability, and when they are convicted of crimes and lose the trust of the public, they must face their punishment. As a former law enforcement officer, Joe Arpaio’s abuse and exploitation of his power to target vulnerable communities is beyond egregious and tarnishes the sworn duty of our brave officers across Arizona. I urge President Trump to stand by his commitment to law and order and not pardon Joe Arpaio, who was entrusted by the people of Maricopa County to enforce our laws, for the crimes of which he has been convicted.”


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.”     

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.