Congressman Andy Biggs wrote a letter to President Trump encouraging him to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Congressman Andy Biggs wrote a letter to President Trump encouraging him to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Gage Skidmore

Should He or Shouldn't He? Arizonans Divided on Potential Trump Pardon for Arpaio

Latino activist groups Promise Arizona and Puente have called on Arizona politicians to speak up about President Trump's promise to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio. Most likely, they were not hoping for a stamp of approval issued by Congressman Andy Biggs.

The Gilbert Republican released a statement saying he encourages the president to follow through on the presidential pardon Tuesday during his Phoenix visit.

"Sheriff Arpaio has been a faithful servant of this nation for over six decades," Biggs said in the statement. "He should be allowed to live out the rest of his days in peace and confidence that his efforts were not in vain"

Biggs even went as far as writing a letter to the president himself, expressing how excited Arizona was to welcome the 45th president of the United States.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton took the exact opposite stance. After Trump announced his visit, Mayor Stanton released a statement last week condemning Trump's poor timing and asking him to reconsider the rally altogether.

He went even further, writing an op-ed article for the Washington Post, which was published Monday.

"America is hurting. And it is hurting largely because Trump has doused racial tensions with gasoline. With his planned visit to Phoenix on Tuesday," Stanton wrote, "I fear the president may be looking to light a match.

"That’s why I asked the president to delay his visit. It’s time to let cooler heads prevail and begin the healing process.

"I’m not optimistic the White House will heed that call."

Neither Arpaio's legal team nor staff at the Phoenix Convention Center have confirmed or denied that Arpaio will make an appearance at Trump's rally or that a mention of the pardon will happen. The Los Angeles Times reported that both are "very unlikely," according to a source with knowledge of the planning.

Meanwhile, Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have remained quiet on the potential of a presidential pardon. But that doesn't mean that local activist groups are accepting their silence.

During a conference call this morning, co-director of LUCHA, Alexandra Gómez told press that all Arizona leaders, including Governor Doug Ducey, need to be "held accountable for their immoral actions."

Carlos Garcia, executive director of Puente Arizona, called upon all Arizona politicians not only to condemn the pardon but to also disassociate with  the policies that support the actions of Arpaio on all levels — local, state, and national.

Latino community leaders and advocates in the Valley have come out strongly against the pardon for Arpaio, which they believe is a slap in the face after years of pushing back against the sheriff's racist rhetoric and policies.

Noemi Romero was part of a conference call Monday morning hosted by Puente in preparation for Trump's visit.

Romero was arrested during a raid for using her mother's social security number to work at a grocery store. She said if Trump truly wanted to right his wrong, then he would pardon illegal immigrants like herself instead of Arpaio.

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