Feds wantonly probe western sheriff

Obama’s politically-motivated investigation of an Arizona sheriff could open doors for illegal immigrants.

In Maricopa County, Ariz. there reigns a popular elected official who attracts vapid media coverage and enacts controversial policies. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, âÄúAmericaâÄôs Toughest Sheriff,âÄù has recently come under investigation by the congressional judiciary committee and President Barack ObamaâÄôs Justice Department. Maricopa County is better known as the âÄúValley of the SunâÄù and is the sixth largest county in America âÄî larger than New Jersey. Arpaio runs the third largest sheriffâÄôs office in America with 3,000 employees âÄî a position he has held since 1992. The 3.8 million people of this county have re-elected him four times since and his popularity is high, not only for his tough stance on lawbreakers, but the results. Arizona has seen a âÄúflightâÄù of illegal immigrants from its borders in recent years, due in part to the policies of Arpaio. His office has handed more than 22,000 illegal aliens to federal authorities for deportation. His controversial policies include removing all TV and smoking from cells and cutting down on meals, as well as the pink underwear inmates are required to sport. But Arpaio has also created a massive database to track repeat sexual offenders, formed an in-house high school for juvenile offenders and runs a drug-rehabilitation program to get released inmates back on the streets clean. He understands that he works for the people, and his policy is to continue his work unabated despite media hype and Washington politicians. Arpaio and his 3,000 staff constantly face difficult decisions related to immigration because Washington has failed to create comprehensive immigration reform. This has only become more of a backburner issue with the Obama administration, until the political opportunity to please a few far-left activist groups came along in the form of investigating Arpaio for civil rights violations. ArpaioâÄôs actions of searching for illegal aliens in heavily Latino neighborhoods was a red flag for âÄî you guessed it âÄî Hispanic civil rights groups like âÄúSomos America.âÄù The Department of Homeland Security estimates an overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants in the U.S. come from Latin countries, so it only makes sense to search for these lawbreakers in Hispanic areas in the U.S. Illegal residents coming into Arizona and the rest of the nation pose a direct threat to national security because they are not screened like the other entrants. The Pew Research Center estimates illegal immigrants comprise approximately 9 percent of the Arizona population. They consume resources in infrastructure, take up space in schools, ring up billions in healthcare costs in our hospitals âÄî 59 percent are uninsured âÄî and cause months of backups in our court system. The former Bill Clinton and current Obama cronies at the Justice Department ought to investigate those factors with all of the spare time they can find. Arpaio is not the top concern to the Justice Department right now, but it is a political issue that theyâÄôve been itching to touch for the years theyâÄôve been out of power. Congress and the administration should let Arizona officials investigate Arpaio and his processes. Constitutionally, the sheriff doesnâÄôt report to anybody except the people he represents. This protection wasnâÄôt by chance; it was intended to keep the basic level of law enforcement out of the national political arena, away from special interests that may interfere in the process of protecting the public. Every county has a prosecutor that is qualified to look into possible civil-rights violations that made certain illegal suspects uncomfortable, and if they felt the need to investigate Arpaio already, they would have. There is a reason this has escalated to the federal level: all other levels of government either didnâÄôt have the imperative or interest in investigating this matter. Attorney General Eric Holder and groups like Somos America were not satisfied with the process of the people and took matters into their own hands. Congressional Republicans recently wrote a letter to Holder expressing their concern with this investigation and the possible side-effects on other law enforcement departments across the nation. If police and sheriff departments are expecting a federal investigation every time they crack down on illegal immigrants, chances are those departments will cut back their efforts. These efforts are vitally important to stopping to flow of crime and drugs across the borders, in addition to the huge resource burden mentioned earlier. Arpaio and his deputies have been employing tactics provided to them by Department of Homeland Security training, and after each arrest, suspects are put through a very thorough process to determine if they are indeed in the U.S. illegally. If not, they are released. Many of these suspects are not just in Arizona illegally, however; nearly 70 percent of the illegal immigrants in Maricopa County jail facilities are also felons, according to the county. AmericaâÄôs toughest sheriff, Arpaio, has led a successful effort over 15 years to crack down on criminals and violators of the sovereignty of the United States. Illegal immigrants overshadow the law-abiding immigrants that go through the correct process for entering the country. Arpaio is consistently elected by the residents of Maricopa County to protect them and enforce the law, and they do it within budget and with out-of-the-box thinking. Our leaders in Washington ought to encourage this kind of law enforcement, not stifle it with overzealous and bureaucratic investigations. Andy Post welcomes comments at [email protected]