TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There is mixed reaction to the news of Arpaio's pardon across Arizona and the country.
Arpaio was given the nick-name "America's toughest sheriff" in part because of his stance on illegal immigration. It's that stance that also got him in trouble with the law.
The director of Mi Familia Vota, a national non-profit that works to unite Latino and immigrant leaders, told Tucson News Now the President's decision is a slap in the face to the Latino community. Congressman Raul Grijalva echoed those thoughts and said the President's pardon sends the wrong message that will only further divide our nation.
"What the President is doing is he's empowering and he's comforting the extremist part of his base – the bigots, the neo-Nazi's, the KKK, the white supremacy and telling them, I just pardoned your icon and therefore it's okay. That message is a message that is not good for this nation and it's not good for the rule of law," Congressman Raul Grijalva said.
"It wasn't about a legal status it was about the color of our skin. It was about how you speak your English. It was about dividing the community and putting fear in the community to gain more power," State Director Mi Familia Vota, Eduardo Sainz, said.
The National Center for Police Defense helped raise money for Arpaio's legal costs. Their president said Arpaio wasn't racially profiling, but enforcing federal law.
"There's nothing racist about illegal. Illegal in any language means illegal and under the Federal Law of the United States if you enter this country illegally you are an illegal alien. We've seen many families destroyed by illegals that have entered this county and continue to enter this country. Joe Arpaio did his job," James Fotis with the National Center for Police Defense said.