Tampa, Fla. – In an interview with Fox News Latino reporter Bryan Llenas at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he is the “poster boy” who is a target for condemnation by the Obama administration and opponents of hard-line immigration enforcement.
But he says in his famously unvarnished style that he’s not the root of the alienation between Latino voters and the Republican Party.
“Don’t blame me,” he says. “I’m just the sheriff…I’m just doing my job, I’m not a racist.”
He says he knows he has widespread support – including among the delegates at the convention.
“Everywhere I go, all the delegates come up to me and say ‘Thank you.’”
“They don’t like me because I’m tall, dark and handsome,” he said. “They like me because I’m enforcing illegal immigration laws so I think that should send a message that I’m doing what the people elected me to do.”
Don't look for the sheriff to tone down his tough talk about illegal immigration.
He knows that his no-nonsense approach to undocumented immigrants -- whom his office has pursued for arrests and detention with a vengeance -- is the kind that many critics say fuels the GOP's image as anti-immigrant and anti-Latino.
"Sometimes it gets me in trouble," the sheriff said, but added: "I'm not toning down anything."
His advice to Latino voters?
If they don't like the immigration laws he is enforcing, they should push their congressional representatives to change them, he said.
But, he added, "don't go after the sheriff that's just enforcing the law."
Watch video above for Arpaio's thoughts on Romney's speech, Marco Rubio, the DOJ case, Craig Romney's Spanish and more.
You can reach Bryan Llenas at: Bryan.Llenas@foxnewslatino.com or via Twitter: @Bryan_Llenas
Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL). He joined FNL in September 2010 and assumed the added position of FNC correspondent in July 2013.