Reports last week indicated that President Trump was likely to end DACA, the program giving protection from deportation for those brought to the United States as children.
At the same time that these youth are poised to lose all protection and face deportation by ICE, the President who famously vowed “no amnesty” decided that amnesty was appropriate in just one case—for the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio, amongst other things, became known for proudly racially profiling and detaining Maricopa County residents in traffic stops, workplace raids, and neighborhood sweeps. A federal court ordered Arpaio to stop racially profiling, but he ignored the court order and left his racial profiling policies in place. His belligerent defiance of a federal court put him in civil contempt of court. He was later convicted of criminal contempt of court.
In the lead up to the pardon of Sheriff Joe, the President told a campaign rally that Arpaio had been convicted for “just doing his job.” But law enforcement officers are sworn to enforce the law in accordance with the Constitution. Stopping and detaining people based on their race is not “just doing a job.” Defying a court order telling you to bring your practices in line with the Constitution is not enforcement of the law—it is the deliberate breach of law.
President Trump, in the same week he was compelled to make a statement that “racism is evil,” granted amnesty to a man who made his name with racial discrimination and who was convicted for deliberately breaking the law. At the same time, DREAMers brought here as youth through no choice of their own are set to face deportation by ICE. When we hear declarations of “no amnesty ever” from the President and other supporters of this pardon, we’ll now know that they mean no amnesty ever for certain people and amnesty on demand for others.
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