Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona will endorse Rick Perry for president next week, according to ABC News.
The self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in the nation” has gained national attention for his hard-line stance against illegal immigration and his controversial tactics, including forcing prison inmates to wear pink underwear and putting them to work on chain gangs.
Perry, a border state governor who in the past has expressed interest in guest worker programs for illegal Mexican immigrants, would benefit politically from association with Arpaio’s tough immigration stance. Perry faced a slew of criticism for saying during a GOP debate that people didn’t “have a heart” if they did not support educating the children of illegal immigrants.
Arpaio plans to campaign with Perry in New Hampshire next week.
When wildfires plagued Arizona in June, Arpaio ordered that illegal immigrants be arrested and questioned about whether they were the cause of the blazes. In the summer of 2010, when Arizona’s severe immigration laws were enacted, he threatened to jail any who protested it. He also gained credibility with the so-called birthers when he recently promised toinvestigate President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to make sure he was eligible to run for reelection.
In 2000, Arpaio endorsed George W. Bush. In 2008, he gave the nod to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore