"Toughest Sheriff" Calls for CA Boycott

By Vicky Nguyen
|  Thursday, Jun 30, 2011  |  Updated 11:45 AM PDT
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Immigration Law Protest: Cheers, Jeers and a Guy on a Bike

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Maricopa County Sheriff Officer Joe Arpaio gestures on April 17, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio, self-proclaimed "Toughest Sheriff in America" says Californians who want to boycott Arizona should MYOB. "Maybe they oughta worry about their own state. Keep their nose out of Arizona. We know what we're dong here," said Arpaio.

 "I don't understand why California has such a big problem. Maybe we should boycott California because there's so many illegal aliens and crime there," Arpaio.

Maricopa County's sheriff made the comments just hours after his deputies arrested 63 people in a crime sweep in Phoenix. Thirty-nine are suspected to be in the U.S. illegally, but 24 were legal U.S. residents.

Arpaio said the sweep was planned long before the new Arizona law was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) last week. But he says it won't change the way his deputies do their job. He also denies it would result in racial profiling.

"We have never gone on the streets and grabbed people off the streets because they look like they're from another country. We don't do that," said Arpaio. He says his deputies will continue to question people about their immigration status only if they have been stopped or are committing a crime, as is the current federal law.

Arpaio says the new law simply provides an extra "tool" for local police and county authorities, by making it a misdemeanor for people to be in Arizona illegally. They could be jailed for up to 6 months.

"Now if you come across someone here illegally, you can arrest them versus turning them over to the U.S. government," says Arpaio.

Still, Oakland, L.A, New York, Washington D.C. and St. Paul are the latest cities to look at proposals to boycott Arizona, following San Francisco's lead.

Protesters are also petitioning to yank the All-Star game from Phoenix. Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon says his city has already lost business from five canceled conventions.

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