Monday, August 4, 2014

Controversial Arizona sheriff to speak at Texas Tea Party fundraiser at Baptist church near Dallas

Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio will speak to the Kaufman County Tea Party during a fundraiser at the First Baptist Church of Forney Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.

Six-time elected Sheriff Arpaio gained national attention in 2005 for speaking out in favor of strong enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. He was an advocate of Arizona's anti-immigrant law that the U.S. Supreme Court later struck down in large part.

Arpaio, who is of Italian heritage, is most infamously known for dyeing boxer shorts pink and forcing county jail inmates to wear them.

The 84-year-old sheriff has used the pink underwear to gain media coverage, raise money through the sale of pink underwear and to promote his book, "America's Toughest Sheriff." He has been quoted as saying, "I can get elected on pink underwear. I've done it six times."

An Internet search failed to produce any anti-LGBT rights remarks made by Arpaio. When fellow Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu was outed as gay during a political campaign in 2012, Arpaio said he wouldn't be advising the gay sheriff. But he stopped short of criticizing Babeu, saying only he would need to "work out his problems."

The announcement of Arpaio's appearance on the Kaufman County Tea Party's website and members' Facebook pages coincides with the political party successfully lobbying the Kaufman County Commissioners Court to pass a resolution opposing any efforts to house young refugees from Central America in the county.

Local Tea Party Chairman Ray Myers claimed the refugees are mostly adults rather than children, and that the approach of 300,000 illegal immigrants to the U.S. border represents an unprecendented public health and economic threat.

Supporters of housing refugee children allege that Myers and other conservatives are using fear tactics to attract opposition to immigrants.

Arpaio is self-proclaimed as "America's Toughest Sheriff," and he attracts widespread national media attention.

Arpaio was found guilty of racial profiling in federal court, and a monitor was appointed to oversee the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office operation. His jails have twice been ruled unconstitutional.

Critics have accused Arpaio of abuse of power, misues of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, improper cleanrance of cases, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws and election law violations.

The sheriff is also known for his claims that he investigated President Barack Obama's birth certificate and found it to be forged.

Funds raised by Arpaio's appearance will be used to defeat RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and Democrats, according to the Tea Party's website.

General admission is $15 each. Sponsors who pay $1,0000 for eight tickets, $500 for four tickets, $250 for two tickets or $125 for one ticket will be able to attend a private reception with the sheriff, get their picture taken with him and sit in reserved seating.

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