A lawyer representing controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio met with lawyers at the Justice Department on Tuesday to discuss the government’s request for documents as part of their inquiry into whether Arpaio’s immigration enforcement is discriminatory.
In early August, DOJ sent a letter to Arpaio’s attorneys which established a deadline for his office to voluntarily turn over documents. The letter said the Justice Department would sue if Arpaio did not cooperate.But the deadline passed last week, with Arpaio’s lawyer Robert Driscoll telling TPMMuckraker that DOJ was “fishing around” for evidence against his client. Lawyers for Justice and the sheriff sat down on Tuesday to try to settle the issue without going to court.
“Our goal all along has been to gain voluntary compliance,” Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa told TPMMuckraker. “[W]e are hopeful that today’s meeting with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will prove productive. We will know in the coming days if voluntary compliance is forthcoming.”
Appearing on Fox News from outside the Justice Department shortly after his meeting, Driscoll said he hoped to allay concerns about racial profiling.
“His position has been that a lot of documents have been available to the Justice Department from other avenues,” Driscoll said. “Today the meeting was to narrow the issues and say, what is the department looking at? And what can we do that is reasonable that will allow them to review the Maricopa practices and determine there is no problem?”
Driscoll said that Arpaio enforces the law equally among all people and that immigration enforcement will continue regardless of the investigation.
“This has been an open and transparent process, the sheriff has invited TV crews when the raids occur and it has been going on for years. You would think if there is evidence of discrimination the Justice Department would have had it long ago,” Driscoll said. “We think that what he is doing with the enforcement immigration law is perfectly appropriate, and if the Department of Justice thinks otherwise they will tell us that and they will have a fight on their hands.”
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