- Arizona's most famous Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, is embarrassing
everyone in the state and federal government who are claiming they don't
have the resources to round up and deport illegal aliens. Ever since Congress
allowed for local law enforcement to voluntarily enforce immigration laws,
Arpaio has been rounding up over 30,000 illegals every year. Now the Obama
administration is instructing Janet Napolitano chief of Homeland Security
(and former governor of Arizona) to reinterpret Congress' intent and limit
local law enforcement to apprehending only those illegals guilty of crimes-but
not enforce immigration status per se.
- As the Wall Street Journal reported, "The Obama
administration is curbing the powers of an Arizona sheriff who has led
one of the most contentious fights against illegal immigrants. Under an
agreement involving local enforcement of federal immigration law, Sheriff
Joe Arpaio's deputies will no longer have the authority to arrest suspected
illegal immigrants in the streets in the course of their duty. A senior
official with Immigration & Customs Enforcement [ICE] flew to Phoenix
late last month with the revised agreement, which the sheriff signed late
- Homeland Security announced in July that all localities
participating in the enforcement program -- more than 60 from Alabama to
California -- would have to sign revised enforcement deals by Oct. 15.
Unlike others participating in the program, Mr. Arpaio will be restricted
to determining the immigration status of inmates booked into Maricopa County
- Actually, this unwritten "no effective enforcement"
rule has been going on since the Bush administration. Even ICE's vaunted
and dramatic raids on industries that harbor hundreds of illegals were
done to create a "humanitarian backlash" justifying even more
permissiveness later on.
- Now, because of Arpaio's effectiveness, which few other
sheriffs were willing to do--being bought off by federal law enforcement
grants and political promises--the Obama administration is having to show
its true colors, directly prohibiting enforcement of immigration status,
through a change in the language of the federal-state agreement, known
- This sets up a potential battle between Congress and
the executive branch. Technically the law passed by Congress spells out
no such limitation, and therefore HSA has no authority to decree such a
limitation. Rep. Lamar Smith, explained this fact:
- "I was the House author of the 1996 immigration
bill that included the 287(g) program and...there's nothing in the legislation
that limits the program to detaining those who committed serious crimes.
The goal was not that at all; the goal was to enable those local law enforcement
authorities who wanted to, to enforce the immigration laws in whatever
way they thought best. And that might or might not include those who committed
- The WSJ continues saying, "A person close to the
Obama administration said some DHS officials had been hoping Mr. Arpaio
would withdraw from the program altogether when confronted with a watered-down
version. Mr. Arpaio, a headline-grabbing elected official in his fifth
term, said: "They thought I wasn't going to sign it. I signed it."
- The reason Arpaio signed was that he sees loopholes of
his own he can use, and he didn't want to be locked out of enforcement
altogether by not signing the gateway agreement. As the Arizona Republic
wrote, "Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday promised that his deputies will
continue to enforce immigration law despite the lack of a contract with
the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that authorizes immigration
enforcement on the streets and in the jails... thanks to an opinion from
County Attorney Andrew Thomas that allows suspected illegal immigrants
to be charged as co-conspirators in their own smuggling [a crime]. Sheriff's
officials said deputies also would rely on a provision of the federal criminal
code that allows local law enforcement to detain someone for 'brief warrantless
interrogation' where circumstances indicate the person could be in the
country illegally. 'I am free of the federal government,' Arpaio said.
'The decision to remove part of an agreement that authorized street-level
immigration enforcement from deputies but allow such enforcement to continue
in the jails was a political ploy from Washington, D.C.,' Arpaio said."
Indeed it was a ploy, and Arpaio has the courage to fight back. Bravo!
- (End Excerpt)
- World Affairs Brief - Commentary and Insights on
a Troubled World
- Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution
- Cite source as Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com
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