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PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona sheriff known for his hardline stance on illegal immigration has gone months without using his most controversial law enforcement tactic.
Critics of America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff say legal pressure has led Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to suspend his immigration sweeps.
But Arpaio said the break isn't unusual, adding that the news media have not reported about immigration arrests made during more routine patrols by his deputies.
The immigration sweeps are at the center of two federal lawsuits, one from the U.S. Justice Department, accusing Arpaio's office of discriminating against Latinos.
During the sweeps, as many as 200 deputies and volunteer posse members flood a designated area, making dozens of traffic stops and arrests. It's been nearly eight months since the last such patrol, marking the longest pause in more than four years.