Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and Arizona GOP state Senator Steve Montenegro clashed bitterly on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday over President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the immigration hawk whose aggressive detention policies made him a national figure, lionized and reviled in equal measure.
Ramos, who has clashed with Trump in the past, said the Arpaio pardon was, in effect, a defense of racism. He then accused Montenegro, himself an immigrant, of forgetting his identity.
“By pardoning Arpaio, President Trump is defending racism,” Ramos said.
“I’m a Republican. Does that make me a racist?” Montenegro replied. “No. I’m an immigrant myself. Does that make me a racist? No. It’s just that we respect the rule of law.”
“I find it disturbing and sad when an immigrant like you forgets where he comes from,” Ramos retorted.
Ramos was born in Mexico and came to the United States in 1983. Montenegro was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the U.S. as a child.
President Trump pardoned Arpaio late Friday. The former sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt in July for refusing to abide by an injunction ordering his office to cease operations related to the detention of undocumented immigrants. The court found his office regularly detained Latinos without reasonable suspicion of criminality for the sole purpose of assessing immigration status. He has also been accused of various forms of police misconduct.
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