Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio made a visit to Arlington, but not without a few snags along the way.
Arpaio was invited by an Arlington mayoral candidate who wanted to share his staunch immigration message with her followers. They were met with protests and even a venue cancellation.
Roughly 100 people packed inside of Jambo’s BBQ Monday for a private event. Those there were delighted to hear former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio address the crowd. But one group of protestors said he was not welcome in their city.
Immigration policy was in the spotlight as protestors made their mission clear. The group called Ice Out of Tarrant County held the protest on the same day Arpaio made his way to Arlington.
Arpaio is known for his tough stance on illegal immigration. In 2017, he was found guilty of criminal contempt for denying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols allegedly targeting illegal immigrants. But he was pardoned by President Donald Trump.
Arpaio endorsed Arlington Mayoral candidate Ashton Stauffer.
“Instruct them to call ICE when we have illegal immigrants show up in our jail system,” Stauffer said. “Instead of pushing them right back into our city, we can call them and have them deported. I’ve done it.”
Stauffer says Arpaio was scheduled to speak at Howell Family Farms, but the venue canceled at the last minute.
“I was very offended by that because we’re talking freedom of speech at that point”, she said.
Gabriela Rodriguez says she wants the federal 287-G program out of Texas. It allows state or local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.
The Tarrant County sheriff participates in the 287-G program but says it is only used in the jail to check the legal status of suspects, but is not used outside the jail by his deputies.
It's a policy Arpaio broadly used to justify his actions in Arizona.
“He dehumanized the people that he captured, dressing up the men in pink shirts, pink underwear, and had them in terrible living conditions,” Rodriguez said. “It was pretty much called the tent city.”
Stauffer says she’s honored to have Arpaio’s endorsement and welcomes protestors at her door.
“I am going to offer those people a chopped sandwich,” she said. “I am going to encourage them to have their right to freedom of speech just as much as sheriff.”