02/21/2012 04:12 pm ET Updated Feb 21, 2012

Joe Arpaio: Birther Investigation Is 'A Favor' To Obama

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was rebuked in December by the Justice Department for alleged civil rights violations, said on Tuesday that he will release his findings on President Barack Obama's birth certificate on March 1.

Arpaio further implied that the president should be thanking him for looking into whether his Hawaii birth certificate is a fake.

"When I took this mission on, I took it on to possibly be able to clear the president," Apraio said during a speech in Maricopa County, where he serves as sheriff. "I was doing him a favor. We'll see what happens."

He didn't give any hints as to what his birther "Cold Case posse" had found, but insisted his press conference was not driven by a desire to gain media attention. "I don't have press conferences just to get my name on television," he said. (Granted, he gets his name on TV plenty as it is, particularly for mishandling immigration enforcement authority until his office was banned from a federal partnership program.)

Arpaio insisted that he is investigating the racially-charged "birther" claims, which have been thoroughly debunked, because of demand from Tea Partiers. Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011, but that was not enough for Arpaio, who said in November 2011 that he wants to see the microfiche of that document.

Arpaio met with "birther queen" Orly Taitz in October 2011 to discuss the investigation, again declining to give findings to the press.

"What should I do, throw it in the waste basket and forget about it, like everyone else is this country has done?" Arpaio said on Tuesday. "But once again, I take my elected sheriff's status very serious, and when the people ask me to do something I try to do it regardless of the repercussions, the politics and the media."

Arpaio spoke after an appearance by presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, with whom Arpaio said he met for about 20 minutes. But Arpaio did not issue an endorsement, although he was for Texas Gov. Rick Perry before he dropped out of the race.

More than talking about candidates, Arpaio touted his immigration enforcement methods, which he said are merely part of his job description as an Arizona sheriff. He said he is glad that the state's lawmakers passed SB 1070 and that his job is now to enforce it -- though in July 2010 a federal judge blocked parts of the controversial immigration law, ruling it unconstitutional.

Arpaio said Obama should thank him for his efforts to drive out undocumented immigrants, too, insisting he is creating jobs through raids on employers.

"Every time we raid a place we remove illegal aliens, that makes another opening for U.S. citizens," Arpaio said. "How come the president doesn't thank me for doing what I can for the economy? I never get any thanks."