Joe Arpaio Fights For Holiday Cheer

| Fri Dec. 18, 2009 9:00 AM EST

Each year, the holidays raise tensions about the role of religion in work places, public areas, and schools. Now, America's immigration grinch is fighting for holiday cheer.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is best known for his immigration sweeps in mostly Hispanic neighborhoods, blatant defiance of justice department instructions, and smear campaigns against his critics. But this year, "America's toughest sheriff" is taking on another persona: champion of holiday tunes.

"Despite a series of lawsuits and grievances filed by inmates to stop it," writes [pdf] the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Arpaio has ordered his jail system to play holiday music continuously through the season. The problem, it appears, is that the sheriff's 8,000 inmates would rather not be subjected to constant holiday merriment. Inmates have filed six separate lawsuits asking that Arpaio be forced to cut off the music. So far, five of those suits have been thrown out. "Score five for Santa Claus," says Arpaio.

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