Feds talking to illegal immigrants in sheriff’s office probe

11:34 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

The U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s immigration policies has included interviews with illegal immigrants, some of whom were deported and returned to the U.S.

USDOJ also is relying on a federal lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a Mexican national who is legally in the U.S. and claims to have been harassed and unlawfully detained by the MCSO in 2007. The USDOJ is investigating whether the sheriff’s office unfairly targets Hispanics in its raids on businesses and crime sweeps.

USDOJ’s interviews involve Hispanics who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants as well as illegal immigrants who were arrested by the MCSO, deported and then returned to the U.S. to testify, according to sources familiar with the investigation who asked not to be identified.

USDOJ spokesman Alejandro Miyar said Aug. 28 he did not know who investigators are interviewing and Justice officials did not provide additional information as of Tuesday evening.

Arpaio said Monday he did not know who the USDOJ is talking to in the case.

The MCSO stopped cooperating with the inquiry earlier this year saying it is politically motivated. “I don’t know what they are doing,” Arpaio said.

The federal civil rights investigation was started in late 2008, but was publicly announced with prodding from Washington after Barack Obama took over as president. Arpaio critics also had been pressing the USDOJ and FBI to look at Arpaio for alleged abuse of power and other matters.

The sheriff denies wrongdoing and says he enforces the law. continues here

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