Read the PDF of our statement here.

LDF Statement on the Pardoning of Joe Arpaio

Today, President Donald Trump pardoned notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt based on his refusal to stop jailing individuals he suspected were illegal immigrants. Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement:

“Joe Arpaio is a modern-day Bull Connor. There can be no more clear evidence of where this President stands on white supremacy than his decision to issue a political pardon to Joe Arpaio – a racial extremist who committed federal crimes as part of his vicious campaign against Latinos in Maricopa County, which stands in lockstep with the most racist campaigns against African Americans during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

“With this shameful pardon, the President has confirmed where he stands. Now every member of Congress must do the same. We call on Congress to demonstrate their unequivocal rejection of white supremacy. We demand that Congress:

● Hold oversight hearings with leaders from the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies about efforts to prosecute hate and domestic terrorism crimes, and enforce civil rights and other laws that prohibit recipients of federal funds from engaging in discrimination.

● Oppose judicial and executive nominees who have given platform to, supported, or condoned white supremacist activities, organizations, or ideologies.

● Hold hearings on and pass legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act and other bills that would protect the vote, including the Voter Empowerment Act, the Automatic Voter Registration Act, and the Democracy Restoration Act.

● Refuse to allocate any funding to the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.”


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.