Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that President Barack Obama’s decision to offer immunity to younger undocumented immigrants won’t effect his enforcement efforts in Arizona.
“We’re going to continue enforcing the illegal immigration laws, including the state laws,” Arpaio told CNN’s Don Lemon on Friday.
“Does that mean that you are going to ignore what the president is going to announce today?” Lemon wondered.
“No, I’m not going to ignore it,” Arpaio replied. “I’m not going to violate the Constitution or the laws.”
“Any immediate impact on you and your state?” the CNN host pressed.
“No,” Arpaio insisted. “We just arrested six more last night in a workplace and human smuggling. We still do our job. By the way, you say there is 1 million [undocumented] young people. … But still, why haven’t they done something? If these people are here illegally, how come they haven’t been deported? Why are we talking about it now?”
The Obama administration announced on Friday its intention to stop deporting and start granting work permits to young immigrants who have come to the U.S. illegally as children, but lived as law-abiding citizens since.
Arpaio’s lawyers recently asked a federal court to dismiss a Justice Department lawsuit that accuses his office of racial discrimination against Latinos.
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast June 15, 2012.
— With earlier reporting by David Ferguson