Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, "I believe that if you get tough, illegal immigrants will disappear." He concludes with, "The more who leave, the better. They shouldn't be here in the first place."
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's name is becoming known far and wide for his unflinching crusade against illegal immigrants in Arizona. He works from the basic premise that there are laws in place, it is his job to enforce those laws and he does so with vigor.
Despite issues that still need to be worked out about the massive crackdown on illegal immigrants in Arizona, Maricopa county, as of last July, was the fastest-growing county in the nation.
Sheriff Joe is the law for Maricopa county.
Arizona is being called a "laboratory" for whether a state can single-handedly combat illegal immigration, and as of now, it seems to be a successful experiment.
Representative Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican makes the statement, "What I love about what Arizona is doing is we don't have to rely on the federal government. It has truly woken up the rest of America that states can fix that problem."
No one is sure exactly how many illegal immigrants have left because of the crackdown, but the government of Sonora, the Mexican state bordering Arizona, has complained about the amount of people showing up on their doorstep.
As a recent Digital Journal.com piece has shown, other local law enforcement agencies have begun to use the training program that THE Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program has offered for over a decade, because the Arizona laboratory, despite its problems has proven to effective.
Arpaio said that there have been few specific complaints of profiling and that his deputies ask suspects about immigration status only when they see a possible crime committed.
He has no apologies for his tactics or their contribution to a flight of illegal immigrants from Arizona.
In the face of protests in some areas because of this crackdown on illegal immigration, one specific example shown in Guadalupe, Arizona legislators are still asking Sheriff Arpaio to expand his crime suppression patrols in the Southeast Valley.
The legislators have sent him a letter and in that letter it says, "We encourage you to continue to enforce the laws and put America and our citizen's rights first." That letter was signed by Reps. Russell Pearce, Mark Anderson, Warde Nichols, Steve Yarbrough, Andy Biggs and Eddie Farnsworth and Sens. Chuck Gray and Karen Johnson.
Pearce goes on to say, "Sheriff Arpaio is single-handedly doing the job of the police chiefs throughout Maricopa County."
The laws are clearly written, including the latest law passed and the one that has shown to be the most effective in the battle against illegal immigration, which is the new employer sanctions law, which took effect in January.
That law states:
Any business caught hiring illegal immigrants is put on probation. If it is caught doing the same thing again, the state revokes its business license.
The only defense for an employer is if it used E-Verify, a federal pilot project to allow businesses to confirm the legality of their laborers.
The problem with that law is the E-Verify system is there is a serious flaw in the system, a kink that must be worked out.
Between October 2006 and March 2007, about 3,200 foreign-born U.S. citizens were initially improperly disqualified from working by E-Verify. Their status was later corrected.
Pretty much everyone from either side of the issue agrees that the flaw within the system needs to be corrected although the reason that the E-Verify system is kicking those names out and disqualifying the majority of those people is because many did not register their citizenship with the Social Security Administration.
Officials will be introducing a number of changes in May of 2008 to address that particular problem according to acting chief of the agency that runs E-Verify, Katherine Lotspeich, who says, "The last thing we want is to have people who are naturalized citizens deal with this cumbersome process."
Sheriff Arpaio has spent the last two years testing different methods of cracking down on illegal immigration and his deputies and volunteers have detained more than 1,000 illegal immigrants, a good number of which were stopped for minor infractions and then asked about their immigration status.
This has critics accusing him and his officers of racial profiling.
Despite that, state legislators this month moved toward passing a law requiring all local police departments to start fighting illegal immigration.
Arizona has broken new ground in the fight against illegal immigration and in the last few years it has barred illegal immigrants from receiving government services, it has prevented illegal immigrants from winning punitive damages in lawsuits, it has stopped illegal immigrants from being able to post bail for serious crimes and the very fact that Maricopa county, since July is the fastest growing county in the whole nation, shows that the massive crackdowns that Arpaio is implementing is having the desire effect.
There are some innocent immigrants suffering inconvenience by getting caught up in this battle against illegal immigration to be sure. One example is a man named Ochoa, who was legally naturalized but due to the flaw in E-Verify, he was classified as a possible illegal immigrant. He has lost his naturalization certificate, so he took his U.S. passport, Social Security card, driver's license and Arizona voter identification card to the local Social Security office and was told it could take up to 10 months for the Department of Homeland Security to get him his new papers.
Then you have cases where the law worked exactly as it was meant to with a man named Jorge Hernandez, who was here illegally from Mexico, and was working in a Phoenix tire shop for years, then in December, after the challenges against the new employer sanction law failed in court, his employers told him he was to be let go because of the new law. Now he works as a day laborer to support his family, still here illegally and says he is thinking of leaving, saying, "I've been in Arizona for 11 years. This is the worst one. For those years I worked every day. I had money, I had a car."
Federal immigration officials are defending Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's recent crime sweeps.
The officials made their remarks as 38 new officers at five Arizona law-enforcement agencies were sworn in to enforce federal immigration laws. The federally trained officers are members of the Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Pima, Pinal and Yavapai county sheriff's offices. Now, with more than 200 trained officers and jail officials, Arizona has the most of any state in nation.
Following in Arpaio and Maricopa county's footsteps are Pima, Pinal, Yavapai deputies who have joined the ranks of Arizona officers trained by ICE to enforce federal immigration law as the Department of Public Safety expands participation in 287(g) program.
Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act is a program that authorizes the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions.
The statistics for the Maricopa illegal immigration crackdown are listed on the Sheriff's department website:
Under the State law – Arrests by Sheriff’s deputies of persons transporting or being transported illegally into Arizona: 510
Under the Federal law – Arrests by Sheriff’s deputies who, in the course of their duties, determine the arrestee is in Arizona illegally: 129
ICE “Holds” - Each inmate booked is interviewed for immigration status. Sheriff’s detention officers have turned over 11,075 illegal immigrants to Immigration authorities for deportation.
The website also sends out news releases consistently to show the success of these operations around the state.
The bottom line for Sheriff Arpaio, the immigration officials and the legislators that have asked him to expand his crime sweeps is this: those in Arizona illegally have no incentive to stay illegally anymore.