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Voto Latino Statement on Presidential Pardon of Joe Arpaio and Military Ban on Transgender People

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, President Trump issued the first presidential pardon of his administration to former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. A federal court convicted Arpaio of criminal contempt for failing to abide by a court order to stop discriminating against and racial profiling Latinos. Tonight the President also signed a memo to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military.

In response, Voto Latino President and CEO Maria Teresa Kumar issued the following statement.

“The President just pardoned Joe Arpaio, thumbing his nose at our judicial system which has, through due processes, convicted Arpaio of human and civil rights violations under the 4th Amendment for racially profiling Latinos under the guide of phony immigration enforcement. Tonight, Trump disregarded the will of Maricopa County voters who were tired of Arpaio’s reign of terror and voted him out of office last November.

Sidestepping the traditional channels of presidential pardons by not going through the Department of Justice, Trump disregarded protocol by overextending his executive powers to return a political favor to an early supporter of his Presidential campaign.

This pardon sets dangerous signals that government officials can disregard the courts and break the law as long as they share the president’s views. This is a slippery slope for our law and order and the integrity of our institutions.

Pardoning Arpaio and signing a military ban on transgender personnel on a late Friday afternoon, during a state of emergency due to Hurricane Harvey is beneath the office of the presidency.

Tonight’s actions will not be forgotten by fellow Americans who care deeply about fairness, justice and equality. It is clear that this president, who has failed to denounce the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi rally and who is a draft dodger, has little regard for uniting our country, or for all the brave members of our armed forces who risk their lives to uphold our Constitution.