Jim Kouri
"America's Sheriff" Joe Arpaio stands up to Obama administration
By Jim Kouri
October 20, 2009

Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio — hailed by many as America's Sheriff — is under attack for cracking down on illegal aliens. The liberal-left politicians, activists and members of the news media are vilifying Sheriff Arpaio for his department's immigration and crime sweeps in and around Phoenix.

On Friday, government officials with the Homeland Security and Justice Departments stated that the veteran lawman's deputies could no longer make arrests based on a person's immigration status. However, during an interview on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," Sheriff Arpaio told viewers that he and his deputies would continue to enforce the law and pointed to Arizona state laws that he would enforce.

In response to the federal complaints regarding his activities, Sheriff Arpaio dispatched deputies on a two-day "crime suppression" operation. While heralded by the men and women he serves, Arpaio's sweeps have been characterized as racial profiling by opponents of immigration enforcement.

The nationwide enforcement of immigration law has been under the gun since President Barack Obama took his oath of office. Many political leaders, mostly Democrats, have targeted enforcement agencies and agents over the past few months with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calling immigration raids "Un-American" and Congressman Luis Guttierez calling Border Patrol agents "The Gestapo."

Attorney General Eric Holder has also threatened Arpaio with a federal investigation of his Sheriff's Department and its activities as a result of his success at capturing hundreds of criminal aliens.

"Nothing has changed," Arpaio told a Reuters reporter while overseeing an operation in a suburb northwest of Phoenix. "We're still going to be doing what we've been doing tonight and during the last two and a half years. I don't take orders from anyone."

Sheriff Arpaio first carried out the sweeps after his deputies underwent training offered by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that gave participating state and local police officers authority to make immigration arrests during the Bush Administration. However, during the Obama Administration deputies have now lost their arrest powers as far as immigration laws on the streets.

The Homeland Security Department claims the reason for curtailing the program with local law enforcement is the current restructuring of the ICE program. However, Arpaio states that his officers are still allowed to determine the immigration status of detainees held in county jails.

Sheriff Arpaio was first elected in 1992 and is praised for his success in reducing violence and crime within his jurisdiction. While strongly supported by a majority of citizens in his county, Arpaio is routinely lambasted by Hispanic activists, liberal organizations and civil rights leaders such as Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sadly, at the same time as this government/media crackdown on Arpaio, the Department of Homeland Security estimates that the total unauthorized immigrant population residing in the United States is 10 million. Their total includes those who entered the United States illegally and those who entered legally but overstayed their authorized period of stay. Critics dispute the federal statistics saying that the number of illegal aliens is closer to 20 million.

Another recent study by the GAO estimates that there are about 15 million illegal aliens living in the United States. The study estimates that nearly 700,000 aliens enter the United States illegally or overstay their authorized period of stay each year.

Their report contained information on the number of criminal aliens incarcerated, their country of citizenship or country of birth, and the cost to incarcerate them. Congress also requested that the GAO provide information on the criminal history of aliens incarcerated in federal and state prisons or local jails who had entered the country illegally.

In the GAO study of a population sample of 55,322 illegal aliens, analysts found that they were arrested a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien.

Nearly all of the illegal aliens in the study sample had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien.

One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests.

Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses. About 45 percent of all offenses were drug or immigration offenses. About 15 percent were property-related offenses such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and property damage. About 12 percent were for violent offenses such as murder, robbery, assault, and sex-related crimes. The balance was for such other offenses as traffic violations, including driving under the influence; fraud — including forgery and counterfeiting; weapons violations; and obstruction of justice.

Eighty percent of all arrests occurred in three states — California, Texas, and Arizona. Specifically, about 58 percent of all arrests occurred in California, 14 percent in Texas, and 8 percent in Arizona. In addition, the FBI estimates that there are upwards of 50,000 illegal aliens who are members of crime gangs such as MS-13, the Mexican Mafia and the Latin Kings.

"If the US Attorney General and his boss President Obama are concerned with investigating criminal activity, perhaps they should focus on criminal aliens and gangs rather than persecuting an effective law enforcement commander such as Joe Arpaio," said former NYPD detective and Marine Sid Frances.

© Jim Kouri


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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)


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