Thank Jesus that the Obama Administration has taken away Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s authorization to enforce federal immigration laws. This means he will be curtailed in his ability to terrorize Latino communities. Naturally, he is enraged.
Here are some interesting tidbits from Alexander Provan’s recent piece on America’s Toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. I recommend reading the whole thing.
Since 2007, Arpaio’s deputies have arrested 33,000 illegal aliens (only 300 of whom were picked up on “crime suppression sweeps”), but they’ve failed to catch any drug kingpins, break up any smuggling rings, or stanch the Mexican drug gang violence spilling over the border. (In fact, the sheriff’s immigration crackdown has coincided with a surge in violent crime and the accumulation of over 40,000 outstanding felony warrants.)
…I ask him why he’s arrested so many immigrants who’ve come to the country to take on menial jobs, but hasn’t caught any major smugglers…[T]hese are not drug dealers; they’re gardeners and dishwashers and men paid six dollars an hour to stand in the sun wearing sandwich boards.
“We’re going after those that have violated laws—they are illegal,” he insists.
…“All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There’s no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don’t check people? No one talks about that! They’re all dirty. I sent out 200 inmates into the desert, they picked up 18 tons of garbage that they bring in—the baby diapers and all that. Where’s everybody who wants to preserve the desert?”
With all of this, you would think he was a dyed-in-the-wool anti-immigrant vigilante who burst out of the womb ready to profile some brown people. The thing about Alexander’s article that surprised me the most is that he has only been this rabid about “illegals” for the last four years. Arpaio is 77 years old. What changed after over seven decades of not hating immigrants?
[In 2005} a 24-year-old Army reservist named Patrick Haab pulled a gun on seven suspected illegal immigrants at a rest stop in the desert, forcing them to lie face-down on the ground until the sheriff’s men arrived. “You don’t go around pulling guns on people,” Arpaio said after arresting him. “Being illegal is not a serious crime. You can’t go to jail for being an illegal alien.”
Nativists did not take kindly to this position, and in a matter of days they had thrust Haab into the national spotlight. He played the hero on conservative talk shows, where he denounced Arpaio for letting the country turn into “Americo.” All charges against him were soon dropped, and a chastened Arpaio embarked on a campaign to remake his image. Within the year, he emerged as an anti-immigration crusader.