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Obama Shows No Intent
To Prosecute Illegals
By Joel Skousen
World Affairs Brief  
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 last week.
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 jails."
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 as 287g.
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 serious crimes."
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 permitted.
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