Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio traveled to San Francisco this week and noticed something surprising: There were no protesters to greet him.
In town to deliver a speech at the California Alarm Association Convention, Arpaio said that the lack of commotion was a letdown.
"Well I'm a little disappointed because from New Hampshire to California, every time I travel or give a speech, l have demonstrators. I don't see any here," Arpaio told San Francisco's KGO-TV.
Arpaio likes to call himself "America's toughest sheriff," but he is also one of the nation's most divisive figures when it comes to immigration issues. He's been the target of a federal investigation and lawsuit alleging that he abused power and racially profiled in his law enforcement endeavors. Arpaio was also named a defendant in a separate case concerning the death of an inmate at one of his jails.
Much of the controversy surrounding Arpaio stems for his unapologetic support for Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law and other severe practices that he's implemented in his effort to round up undocumented immigrants in Maricopa County.
During his trip to San Francisco, he defended SB 1070 in an interview with CBS 5.
"So you don't speak English, you have no ID, you can't tell where you’re from ... that's suspicion, it's lower than probable cause," Arpaio said. "And then we have a right to call immigration and check you out."
But just because there were no visible demonstrations against Arpaio in the city doesn't mean that opposition to the sheriff doesn't exist there.
Students at a local middle school recently sent Arpaio a batch of letters, written in Spanish, calling him out for what they portrayed as racially motivated efforts to break up Latino families. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told CBS 5 that Arpaio had planned to meet with the students during his visit to San Francisco, but that the school district had canceled at the last minute. A spokesperson for the school district denied that the event had been planned in the first place.
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