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Border & Immigration

AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio Greeted By Protesters in San Diego

Controversial Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was greeted today by dozens of protesters when he arrived to give a speech at the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo.

Protesters, who chanted and carried signs reading "We are human," "San Diego doesn't welcome hate" and "No human being is illegal" are upset by Arpaio's support for Arizona's tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

Arpaio addressed a sold-out crowd at the country club. The luncheon event was organized by the North County chapter of Conservative Order for Good Government.

The Arizona law -- which was largely blocked when a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction the day before it was slated to take effect -- would require police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.

After the speech, Arpaio told NBC 7/39 that the country needs to enforce its immigration laws.

"The bottom line, everybody forgets, when you cross the border you have violated a law," he said. "We should enforce the law, not look the other way."

Immigrant rights groups say the law is discriminatory and leads to racial profiling.

"I think that he has every right to speak and we have every right to say ... `the words you are saying do not create harmony in our country,"' one of the protesters told KFMB-TV.

Arpaio has been an outspoken supporter of Arizona's law, arguing it is needed to crack down on illegal immigration. The controversial law enforcement officer has labeled himself "America's toughest sheriff" and gained notoriety by creating large tent jails in the desert and requiring inmates to wear pink underwear.

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