President Donald Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday. Trump’s pardon ignores Arpaio’s deplorable actions and affirms Trump’s lack of concern for racial profiling.
Arpaio was responsible for ordering deputies to target residents of Latin American descent during traffic stops, workplace raids and neighborhood sweeps To Arpaio, this was a necessary practice to combat illegal immigration.
In 2011, Arpaio was issued a warning by the federal government that his habit of racially profiling people based on the assumption they are Latino was unconstitutional. Arpaio refused to comply and instead ordered his men to continue detaining and harassing people based on appearance.
Finally, in July the federal government responded and found him in contempt. Arpaio was expected to be sentenced in October.
Friday evening Trump released a statement that read, “Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.” It continued, “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate of a Presidential pardon.”
Admirable. The word itself elicits thoughts of nobility, praise and respect. One would think admiration is reserved for those who exhibit these qualities, yet the president uses it to describe a man responsible for stigmatizing, harassing and profiling an entire race.
While Trump and Arpaio may be villains of different breeds, they do have one thing in common: They contribute to deepening the already strong racial tensions in the U.S.
Arpaio was found in contempt and should face justice. Unfortunately, this is not the case. For Arpaio and Trump, it seems the law should be enforced until they are the ones breaking it.
Allaa Tayeb is a sophomore majoring in English and film studies.