June 19, 2014
“The White House is incompetent and the dumping of illegals is intentional.”
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio takes the dumping of illegal aliens in his Maricopa County as an “affront” because Arizona has been a high-profile critic of federal immigration policy, and Arpaio has been “like the poster boy” for slamming the Justice Department and the White House.
He doubts the massive wave of illegals, many of them unaccompanied minors, is a result of mere administration ineptitude.
“I got my own theory,” he said. “I think the White House sometimes is incompetent, but I can’t imagine them doing this without realizing that there was going to be controversy.”
Arpaio thinks President Obama is deliberately courting that controversy because the current crisis on the border gives him a chance to issue more executive orders, or prod Congress into passing immigration reforms that suit the president’s taste.
Having worked extensively on both sides of the southern border, Arpaio doubts that most politicians have a proper understanding of conditions in Mexico or the southern United States. He thinks the drug and gang problems are frequently underestimated, noting that when criminals are deported, it doesn’t seem to take long before they reappear in the United States — sometimes 10 or 15 times.
He said he has written to the new secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, about the problem of repeat offenders but has yet to receive a satisfactory response. He says he hasn’t been able to attract much attention from the media, either, which is leading him to appreciate the power of social media and viral video, after some initial resistance to using the technology.
He criticized the way the media and Border Patrol agents have been given limited access to the refugee camps springing up in response to the unaccompanied wave of minors.
“Why are they hiding these kids from the media?” Arpaio said. “Well, I think I have a theory here. I don’t think they’re all young kids. I would bet there are 16-, 17-year-olds. How do we know they’re not members of a gang coming across?”
Sheriff Arpaio’s suspicions on this point appear to be well-founded, as The Washington Times has reported complaints from the National Border Patrol Council that some of the “children” surging across the border are indeed teenage gang members, often with blatant gang tattoos.
The 82-year-old sheriff has 55 years of law-enforcement experience. (His birthday is Flag Day, and he says this year he spent it “locking up deadbeat dads.”) After spending many of those years fighting the drug trade as a federal agent, he finds it disappointing that the federal government spends so much time hassling him.
“That’s sad, in a way,” he said. “But you know what? It doesn’t bother me. Actually, I love challenges. The more they go after me, the more happy I am, and I’m not going to surrender.”
He doesn’t think America should surrender to an illegal immigration crisis some describe as intractable.
“We’re the greatest country in the universe,” Arpaio declared. “You’re trying to tell me that we can’t control the illegal immigration coming into our country?”
Among the other issues he has no intention of retreating from is his challenge to the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate, which he remains convinced is a forged document. Arpaio is well aware of the criticism this crusade generates, from accusations of racism lobbed against him, to charges that he’s an obsessed eccentric. He repeated his determination to push harder in the face of such adversity, and suggested his critics consider that he knows how much trouble he’s causing for himself, and how quickly it would all go away if he dropped the subject.
He’s also aware of the support he receives, especially from the constituents who keep re-electing him sheriff. He speaks of his commitment to treating legal immigrants, such as his own parents, with fairness and respect — which means enforcing the laws they respected in turn.
“It’s a fairness issue,” he said. “Many people obey the laws, and yet those that don’t, reward them. That’s not right.”