Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix is rescinding his policy of requiring naturalized U.S. citizens to furnish detailed proof of citizenship in order to visit inmates in the county jails, the Arizona Republic reports. The policy was intended to keep illegal immigrants from visiting the jail but was keeping court employees who are naturalized citizens from doing their jobs if they didn’t have the information requested on the form. Arpaio changed the policy after the Arizona Republic highlighted how a court interpreter, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was barred from entering the jail.
“I do have a deep respect for those who come here legally, like my mother and father who came from Italy, went through the system and became naturalized,” Arpaio said. “I have a deep respect for them. That’s one reason I’m going to change this policy.” Attorneys and other paralegal specialists from the county Public Defender’s Office were also prevented from entering because they did not have the requested data. Arpaio said he is going to continue to monitor all visitors.