EAST LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio, an outspoken foe of immigration reform, appeared in East Los Angeles Saturday.
CBS2’s Greg Mills said protests would be expected — if anyone knew the uber controversial Arpaio was in town.
Mills said, “You’d expect huge demonstrations but Arpaio flew under the radar.”
The Maricopa County sheriff is known for being outspoken and blunt.
Arpaio spoke at a Esteban Torres High School in East LA. Mills said it was quiet, before and after, he spoke.
“Probably because no one knew he would be here,” Mills reported.
“I’m not the Devil,” the 82-year-old Arpaio told the audience.
Some might disagree, Mills said.
Arpaio is known for taking a hard-line stance against undocumented immigrants in the state of Arizona.
“We must enforce the law,” he said, “It’s very simple. There are laws against entering our country illegally. The laws must be enforced.”
On Saturday, Arpaio appeared as part of a discussion panel for a show airing next week on Mundo Fox.
“Unfortunately, other law enforcement officials who were supposed to show up, didn’t show up,” he said, “maybe I scared them away.”
The panel and the audience were both hand-picked.
“I feel that Mr. Arpaio still has the same racist mentality,” said audience member Marta Jimenez.
Mills said the panel’s other four panelists took target practice during the session and Arpaio was their target.
He told the audience, “We are not racist. I’m just doing my job.”
At the end of the show, Arpaio got some modicum of respect, albeit begrudgingly.
Arpaio dealth with overcrowding in his jails by putting inmates in controversial tent cities.
He saw his approach as a much better way to alleviate jail overcrowding than California does, releasing inmates early.
“Your governor here,” said Arpaio, “why is he letting everybody out? Put up tents.”
Arpaio was genuinely disappointed he didn’t have protesters.
He told Mills, “I have protesters every place I go.” He said he likes to confront his detractors and talk to them.