Man in Trump video was re­leased un­der Ar­paio

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Nation & World - BY JACQUES BIL­LEAUD

A po­lit­i­cal ad from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that shows a Mex­i­can im­mi­grant brag­ging about killing po­lice of­fi­cers has put the spot­light back on noted im­mi­gra­tion hard-liner Joe Ar­paio, who de­tained and re­leased the man in the video years ago.

The for­mer six-term sher­iff of metro Phoenix says he’s be­ing un­fairly blamed for re­leas­ing the im­mi­grant de­picted in the video that has stoked im­mi­gra­tion anx­i­eties in the days lead­ing up to the midterm elec­tions.

The ad cen­ters on Luis Bra­ca­montes, who was con­victed of mur­der in the 2014 shoot­ing deaths of two sher­iff’s deputies in Cal­i­for­nia while he was in the United States il­le­gally. Trump blames Democrats for weak laws that al­lowed the man to keep com­ing across the border, even though he was de­ported dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tions of Bill Clin­ton and Ge­orge W. Bush.

Bra­ca­montes was in­car­cer­ated four times in jails run by Ar­paio, a Repub­li­can who is known for his crack­downs on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and be­ing the first per­son to re­ceive a par­don from Trump. He cam­paigned for Trump on sev­eral oc­ca­sions dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign but lost his bid for a sev­enth term in 2016 amid a swirl of le­gal trou­bles.

Ar­paio said Fri­day that he hasn’t seen the ad and didn’t re­mem­ber the de­tails of the cases.

But he said his jail of­fi­cers prop­erly acted prop­erly by con­tact­ing fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties to pick up Bra­ca­montes, be­cause that was the pro­ce­dure when in­mates com­pleted their sen­tences. He pinned the blame on fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties for drop­ping the ball.

“I would never re­lease an il­le­gal,” Ar­paio said. “I think my rep­u­ta­tion has shown that for many, many, many years.”

Bra­ca­montes used sev­eral aliases, mak­ing it hard to pin­point his im­mi­gra­tion record.

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