9 On Your Side Immigration Watch
Feisty Sheriff Arpaio plans 20th immigration sweep
"I have almost 20 years as Sheriff. I can get elected on pink underwear."
Arpaio to launch his 20th immigration sweep Video by kgun9.comvideo
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks with 9 On Your Side
Arpaio's office is a celebration of what has made him famous - and in the eyes of some, infamous.
Maricopa County sheriff's deputies on patrol in a past sweep
A detainee wears plastic handcuffs in an earlier sweep
Reporter: Steve Nuñez
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is at it again. The self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America" is planning his 20th crime and immigration sweep.
Arpaio denies his sweeps are purely for publicity.
"I'm not going to back down," said Arpaio. "I don't take a vacation on certain crimes."
But it's Arpaio who is also under the microscope of racial, political and financial investigations. The latest: for misspending $100 million in restricted jail funds to also fund his work place raids.
9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez asked: "Where are you going to get the money to pay for your latest sweep?"
"The legislature gave me, directly to me, $2 million to enforce immigration laws," Arpaio responded. "Why is it I'm being blasted for a hundred thousand people leaving Maricopa County because I'm the bad sheriff. At least we're doing something right. They're leaving. Maybe they're going to Pima County."
Last summer, KGUN9 News went along on one of Arpaio's patrols. During the sweeps deputies saturate an area and then target drivers who violate traffic laws.
Henry Orellana is a critic of Arpaio's sweeps. Orellana claims he, too, was ticketed but doesn't believe a broken tail light motivated the stop.
Nuñez asked: "What's wrong with arresting someone if they are here illegally?"
"Well there's nothing wrong with arresting someone who's here illegally," said Orellana. "But I honestly believe he's arresting them because of their skin color."
Arpaio denies his deputies are racial profiling.
Nuñez asked: How do you explain the fact that 60% of all the people you have arrested during your sweeps are Hispanics?"
"That's not my problem," answered Arpaio. "That, that's 60% means we've got a big problem out there don't we."
Nuñez asked: "Critics also accuse you of using these immigration sweeps as publicity stunts?"
"You know what, you called me I didn't call you," said Arpaio. "I don't need this for publicity. I've been almost twenty years as this Sheriff, I can get elected on pink underwear."
Arpaio said his sweeps will go on even though so-called victims have stacked $177 million of lawsuits against him.
Arpaio would not tell us exactly when and where he plans to conduct his next sweep. However, he did tip us off by letting us know it'll take place sometime next week.