While people living in Miami, Florida, and cities across the country have opinions and ideas about politics, news and other national issues, those in law enforcement and other high-profile positions often have the resources and platform necessary to be heard and make a difference. In fact, many prominent public figures build a career out of publicizing their beliefs. And some become known, notorious even, for putting those beliefs into action. One such nationally-known lawman is being scrutinized for his approach to addressing immigration issues in his jurisdiction after years of making headlines and causing controversy.
The sheriff in question launched himself into the political spotlight with his aggressive views and approach to policing immigration in his region. Along with other efforts to enforce immigration policies, the sheriff implemented the practice of using routine traffic stops to search out potential undocumented immigrants. Deputies were trained to study motorists and passengers for certain traits like their general appearance and language. After observing for these characteristics, the officer could question the individuals’ citizenship.
Now the sheriff is prohibited from enforcing immigration efforts since a U.S. district court judge has officially ruled that he has used racial profiling techniques for years. His office is under strict supervision until further notice, as other law enforcement agencies around the country wait to see if they may face similar accusations.
Possible consequences of the judge’s findings are likely to include increased surveillance of office conduct, improved documentation of arrests and officer training. The sheriff himself is not expected to face legal action for his conduct.
Under no circumstance is racial profiling an acceptable tool for law enforcement to use. If anyone, no matter their immigration status, suspects they may have experienced such illegal treatment, they can seek legal counsel to protect their rights.
Source: USA Today, “Ariz. sheriff temporarily suspends immigration efforts,” JJ Hensley, June 7, 2013