Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio vs. Obama's Emerging Stealth Amnesty

Joe Arpaio—the 77 year old sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona—bills himself as the toughest sheriff in America.  I don't know that he's the toughest, but he certainly endured more from the Treason Lobby than any law enforcement officer in the country. And, as the Obama administration institutes a "stealth amnesty" by quietly dismantling even the minimal protections against illegal immigration surviving from the lame-duck Bush administration, Sheriff Joe is undeniably emerging as a true American hero.

Since Arpaio began detaining illegal aliens in 2005, the usual Treason Lobby suspects—La Raza, the ADL, the ACLU, Amnesty International, MALDEF, and their media parrots—have used every trick in the book. He's faced lawsuits, recall petitions, media exposés, and protests. But he always comes off stronger and more popular in the end.

What has Arpaio done to deserve this hostility? He enforces the law. In 2005, Arizona passed a law making human smuggling a felony. Sheriff Joe takes this law seriously and arrests the smugglers—and, naturally, charges the illegal aliens who are conspiring with the coyotes with conspiracy. Arpaio has also entered a 287 (g) agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that allows local law enforcement officers to detain illegal aliens during the course of their normal law enforcement activities.

Arpaio does not indiscriminately harass Hispanics. But his deputies go to suspected drop houses for illegal aliens and pull over vans and trucks overfilled with foreigners. His department explicitly bars pulling over suspects based on ethnicity, but they do use common sense tactics like scrutinizing those who do not have any documents and cannot speak English.

The Arizona Republic came out with an analysis showing that 68% of those arrested in his sweeps had Hispanic surnames—presumably evidence of racial profiling. [Feds give sheriff a tough choice on immigration enforcement, by JJ Hensley, August 5, 2009] The story failed to mention that Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 78% of illegal aliens come from Latin American countries, and it's a safe bet that the number is even higher in Maricopa County.

Just one example of a typical anti-Arpaio stunt took place on Friday DATE. Salvador Reza and the group "Puente [= bridge] AZ" held a "Children's March for Family Unity". Fifty Latino kids dressed in butterfly outfits (butterflies migrate over borders...get it?) waiving American flags, and holding signs like "Don't take away my parents, Joe".

Of course, we can have "family unity" while enforcing our laws. No one is stopping the illegal alien children and anchor babies from going back to Mexico with their parents.

But the Treason Lobby doesn't care about keeping together families. They are too valuable for propaganda purposes in the United States—as when immigration enthusiasts paraded Elvira Arellano's son around the country to campaign for amnesty after his mother's deportation.

This Salvador Reza, who organized the march, is also responsible for much of the anti-Arpaio hijinks. Some patriotic immigration reformers claim he supports Reconquista. But it's actually worse. Not only does he refuse to recognize the sovereignty of the United States, he doesn't even recognize the sovereignty of any country in North or South America. In fact—contrary to the flag-waving kids—he doesn't even like the word America, saying, "I called it "America" because that is the common term, but in reality it is 'Abya Yala', which is the name of our Continent."

Reza thinks amnesty advocates are too short sighted because "in reality we are struggling for the freedom to travel throughout our mother The Earth without having barriers" just like the migrating Indians supposedly did before "some sick minds invented nationalism".

Of course this doesn't get covered in the Main Stream Media. NPR refers to him as a "Community Organizer Fight[ing] for Immigrant Rights". In contrast, the fact that a few opponents of Reza have un-PC cartoons of Obama is worth its own story.

In fact, just on August 12, Phil Gordon, [Email him] the Mayor of Phoenix—which is part of Maricopa County—invited the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center (known to VDARE.COM as the "$PLC") to talk about combating the many "hate groups in the state". FAIR president Dan Stein, whose unimpeachably herbivorous Beltway patriotic immigration reform group has been nevertheless named a "hate group" by the SPLC, sent a letter asking for a representative to merely attend the meetings, but was rebuffed. At the meetings, the lovely Heidi Beirich warned the audience of the dangerous "links" that Arpaio supposedly had to "nativist extremist" groups.

Following an earlier anti-Arpaio march just in May, The New York Times editorialized that the sheriff's faces more forceful opposition from a "a dogged organizer, Salvador Reza" than from the U.S. government.

But in reality, propaganda stunts involving a few illegal alien children in butterfly outfits are nowhere near as big of a threat to Arpaio as the Obama Administration.

In March, the Obama Department of Justice sent a letter to Arpaio announcing that its civil rights division is investigating his office for "national origin discrimination, including failure to provide meaningful access to MCSO services for limited English proficient individuals" But Arpaio refused to play his role in this show trial and announced at a press conference that his department would not cooperate with the investigation.

And now the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement [ICE] is after Arpaio for enforcing immigration laws. On July 10, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano revised the 287 (g) agreement with state and local government to require them to release all illegal aliens not charged with serious crimes "to address concerns that individuals may be arrested for minor offenses as a guise to initiate removal proceedings".[Napolitano weakens illegal immigration rule enforcement]

 Arpaio vowed to continue enforcing the law, saying, "If I'm told not to enforce immigration law except if the alien is a violent criminal, my answer to that is we are still going to do the same thing, 287 (g) or not". Worst case scenario, he would continue to detain illegals under Arizona's existing state law against smuggling.

DHS gave Arpaio 90 days to continue with the old policy. But on July 23 and 24th it ordered him to release 13 illegal aliens who were caught in a broad sweep. When he told the public of this outrage, it threatened to completely revoke the 287 (g) agreement if he did not "coordinate with ICE regarding information to be released to the media regarding actions taken under this memorandum of agreement".

In other words: shut up—or we'll make you release violent illegal aliens back on the street. [ICE gags sheriff, Washington Times, August 5, 2009]

The Feds claimed that Arpaio ordered the release to get PR, but, anticipating their lies, he had taped their orders.

I have heard a few in the patriotic immigration reform movement complain that Joe Arpaio more interested in publicity than immigration. They believe that by applying the laws as broadly as possible while constantly attacking the federal authorities, he's in part responsible for the now-watered-down 287 (g) guidelines.

No one can deny that Arpaio enjoys getting headlines. And it's possible that he might arrest a few less illegal aliens because of his feud with the Feds. But by letting illegals know they're not welcome in his county, he no doubt causes many more to self-deport.

Keeping the 287 (g) program alive is important. But it is not going to solve the illegal immigration crisis in this country by itself. Most illegal aliens are not rapists, murderers, or thieves. This does not mean, however, that they are not here illegally, nor that they do not impose enormous fiscal and social costs upon American citizens.

What will solve the problem is when Americans wake up to the fact that not only have the Bush and now the Obama administration refused to enforce our immigration laws, but they persecute our law enforcement officers who do—and then do something about this continuing scandal.

Sheriff Joe sends a message to patriotic Americans (and potentially patriotic politicians) across the country: if you stand up against the Treason Lobby, the American people will stand with you. Despite attacks by the media, ethnic pressure groups and government he always polls highly.

At her panel on "hate groups", the flustered Heidi Beirich concluded her remarks on Arpaio by lamenting, "I don't know why it is that he keeps getting re-elected, I just don't know."

Here's a hint: the most recent poll showed that 57% of Arizona voters believe that Arpaio improves the image of the state, while only 27% thinks it reflects poorly.

When small town mayors like Lou Barletta and big county Sheriffs like Joe Arpaio become national figures by sticking to their guns, it will embolden other local officials to crack down.

At 77, Arpaio is pretty old to start a national political career (although he's two years younger than the appalling Arlen Specter). But I wouldn't mind seeing him kick out the SPLC-groveling mayor of Phoenix, or Congressman Jeff Flake, or even a certain Arizona Senator who cosponsored an amnesty bill a couple of years ago back and is up for re-election in 2010.

OK, Sheriff Joe might love publicity—but the fact that the Obama administration sides with illegal aliens over a sheriff who just want to enforce the law is something that needs to be publicized.

Ellison Lodge (email him) works on Capitol Hill.