On February 13th, John Conyers (D-MI) along with other Democratic congresspeople, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, requesting that their respective departments look into the activities of Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Arpaio. Sheriff Arpaio is the guy on television who actually enforces immigration laws by rounding up illegal one and holding them in a "tent jail" until the Federal immigration people figure out what to do with them.
Being a border state, Arizona is uniquely situated in the illegal immigration battle. Like Texas, California and New Mexico, it is these state governments that bear the huge costs of illegal immigration in their hospitals, their schools, and their law enforcement resources. With the increasing violence south of the border instigated by competition between drug cartels, it is bound to, and has in some instances, spilled north of the Rio Grande. Yet, we now have bureaucrats sitting in Washington, DC high on their dais questioning the tactics of the foot soldiers- actually one foot soldier- in this very real battle. While they twiddle their thumbs and contenplate "comprehensive immigration reform" and "strengthening our southern border," they now have the audacity to criticize someone who is actually doing something about it.
One can go to the U.S. House of Representative web site and read the entire letter under the House Judiciary Committee heading (Conyers is chairman of that committee). Basically, to summarize, it states that Arpaio has repeatedly disregarded the rights of Hispanics in the Phoenix area under the guise of immigration enforcement. They cite that "community groups" have critcized Arpaio for his alleged use of racial profiling. They critcize his "tent city jail" saying that Arpaio subjects the immigrants to "ritual humiliation."
First off, the guy is enforcing the law by detaining and holding undocumented immigrants. He is doing so despite the fact that the Federal government has an apparent tendency not to enforce the immigration laws. Regarding "racial profiling," these individuals are coming into the United States illegally across our southern border. If my 3rd grade geography serves me correctly, that would mean they are coming from Mexico. Would it make Conyers and company any happier if Arpaio threw a few Swedes in there? If the problem in Arizona is illegal immigrants from Mexico, does it make sense to track down immigrants of Irish descent or Nigerian descent or Japanese descent? Not that there is no possibility of an illegal Swede, Irishman, Nigerian or Japanese person in Arizona, but would that be a wise use of limited resources?
The tent city jail was necessary because, quite frankly, the problem is so large in that state that existing facilities cannot handle the sheer number of illegal immigrants. As for the "ritual humiliation," that amounts to provinding the "inmates" with pink jumpsuits and pink underwear. Conyers and company makes it seem as if they are being piled into nude pyramids and photographed by rogue deputies.
Instead of Conyers writing a letter to the Justice Department criticizing a law enforcement official for actually doing his job, maybe they should be making suggestions to address the problem once and for all. Maybe illegal immigration would be lessened with more Joe Arpaio's enforcing the law. To cite but a few statistics from Maricopa County, Arizona: Arpaio's men have arrested 1,219 people for illegally smuggling people into Arizona from Mexico while officers, during the course of routine traffic stops and other calls, have arrested another 1,524 illegal immigrants. Contrary to the characterizations of Conyers, Arpaio does not cast huge dragnets centering on people who may look Hispanic. It is their policy that residency status be checked of all people. As a result, they have turned over 21,943 illegal immigrants to the federal government for deportation.
To illustrate the problem Arpaio faces, although illiegal immigrants account for about 9% of the population of Maricopa County, they are responsible for over 22% of the total crime according to Judicial Watch. Over 16% of the 77,000 inmates in Maricopa County are in this country illegally. Over 37% of credit card fraud in the county is attributable to undocumented individuals. And one can go on and on citing statistics showing the growing problem in the county. What Maricopa County does not need is some Beltway pundit questioning the quite legal response to the problem. What Maricopa County does not need is ethnocentric interest groups filing lawsuits against law enforcement officials for doing their job. Why illegal immigrants, or anyone on their behalf, have the right to sue anyone in our courts does not make sense and needs to be addressed. What Maricopa does need is Federal support- financial and moral- in addressing their problem. What the rest of the border states need are more law enforcement officers like Sheriff Arpaio and disallowing sanctuary status to cities under threat of losing federal aid dollars.