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Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Ends Controversial Workplace Raids

Image: Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pauses as he answers a question at a news conference at Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Headquarters Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, in Phoenix. County officials are holding a closed-door meeting Thursday to consider action in two lawsuits that accuse Arpaio of abusing his powers. Ross D. Franklin / AP file

The Arizona sheriff who made national headlines for crackdowns on undocumented immigrants is disbanding the squad charged with raiding businesses that hired immigrant workers, resulting in the arrests of hundreds of workers charged with using fake or stolen IDs.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's decision late Wednesday to voluntarily close his criminal employment squad comes after his office was found to have racially profiled Latinos in traffic stops. His office had been stripped of special federal immigration powers and is also being investigated for alleged civil rights violations.

Immigrant groups reacted to the news - but still faced off against Arpaio.

"This could not have been possible if not for the courage of undocumented workers who came forward to challenge the workplace raids," said Carlos Garcia of Puente Arizona. "The community targeted by Arpaio's war of attrition is turning the tables on the sheriff."

"Arpaio also announced he is proceeding with one last investigation...We will continue to fight because even one more raid is unacceptable."

Last month, Arpaio filed a lawsuit to dismantle President Obama's executive order on immigration.


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--The Associated Press contributed to this report