Arpaio responds to judge's ruling on racial profiling

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has responded to a federal judge's ruling that his office racially profiled Latinos in its immigration patrols.

Arpaio said his deputies were only doing what they were trained to do by the federal government.

"One hundred of my deputies were authorized and trained by the federal government, ICE, to enforce federal immigration laws," Arpaio said. "Now, the federal court has ruled that federal training was unconstitutional and it led to racial profiling. We will appeal this ruling. You know as sheriff I uphold the law. The court's order is now clear. We will no longer detain persons believed to be in the country without authorization whom we cannot arrest on state charges. I have already instructed my deputies."

Meanwhile, activists demand Arpaio step down following Friday's ruling, which was in response to a class-action lawsuit.

"The sheriff always said no one is above the law, well, Sheriff Joe, you broke the law and since you broke the law you must pay like you have others pay," said Bishop Dr. Jeffrey Metcalff with the National Action Network. "I don't know whether you want to be deported or resign, but I do know that you're not above the law."

While many people living in the country illegally have been arrested during MCSO's crime sweeps and business raids, some Latinos who were in the United States legally have also been caught up in the raids.

Arpaio's critics hope the court ruling serves as a wake-up call.

In his ruling, the judge said, "Had the sheriff's office stopped trying to enforce immigration laws after the federal government took away his deputies' authority, the case may have been moot."

An ACLU attorney said Arpaio can still enforce Arizona's immigration laws just as long as he doesn't target a specific race.

Arpaio does not face any criminal penalties because of the ruling.