In the wake of his reelection to a sixth term as sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, Joe Arpaio is ready to reach out to "the Hispanics" in the local community -- who have generally not been a fan of the controversial official's policies on immigration.
“I can get along great with the Hispanics,” he said in an interview with the Arizona Republic. “In fact, I sure would like to meet them, even the politicians, maybe in the back room or whatever, have a couple of beers and try to explain. But they need to understand that I enforce the laws. I want to listen to them and hear their problems. I want them to tell me what their problems are. Maybe we can come up with a solution.”
While Arpaio won his most recent election, he didn't win overwhelmingly -- 49.3 percent of the voters did not pick him -- which may be why Arpaio is trying to show his "kinder, gentler" side. The long-time foe of undocumented immigration is even saying that lawmakers should "look into" passing the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented individuals.
In the days immediately following his election, Arpaio similarly said, "I'd like to get closer to the Latino community, if that could ever happen to try to explain what we do and get better relationships."
Arpaio will have some work to do. He has aggressively gone after undocumented immigrants, and the Justice Department has sued him for racially profiling Latinos in his trademark immigration sweeps. He has also clashed with President Barack Obama administration over his other law enforcement practices, which include holding prisoners in tent cities and forcing them to wear pink underwear.
The Justice Department investigated him this year for alleged abuse of power but closed that probe in August without filing any charges.
During this election season, Arpaio garnered national attention for his birther claims against Obama.
Despite their differences, however, Arpaio said he wishes Obama would invite him to the White House for a "man-to-man" beer summit.