Justice Department Goes after Sheriff Joe

Posted on Wed 12/21/2011 by


By Gregory D. Lee

Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Eric Holder’s U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division has released the findings of its three-year witch hunt of America’s most popular and effective sheriff, Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, Arizona.

Among the findings were that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) used “racial profiling” in traffic stops, and that a Latino was “four to nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maricopa County has a population of 3.8 million residents, which is over half of all Arizona residents. Of that number, 29.6 percent are persons of Hispanic or Latino origin. By virtue of numbers, Latinos have a one-in-three chance of being pulled over for a traffic violation, regardless of the “situation.”

Further, I’ve never seen a black illegal Mexican alien or one that looked like he was born in China.

Throughout the Justice Department’s report of findings, the words “illegal alien” could be substituted easily for “Latino” because this is what it is all about. Holder’s headhunters are trying to intimidate Sheriff Arpaio and other border state law enforcement officials to back off from enforcing federal immigration laws.

The truth is that by virtue of location, Arizona, and Maricopa County in particular, have been plagued by illegal Mexicans. Citizen complaints and aggressive law enforcement have led to the arrest and deportation of thousands of illegal aliens. This is something Holder’s Department of Justice aims to stop, especially in light of being within a year of a presidential election.

Holder and his army of attorneys have already sued Arizona and other states for passing legislation allowing police officers to challenge persons lawfully detained to prove they are in the country legally if they have reason to suspect they are not. Holder’s U.S. Attorneys refuse to prosecute illegal aliens even when they have been captured numerous times. “Catch and release” is the preferred method of dealing with those pesky illegals who always seem to find themselves in custody by local law enforcement because the Department of Homeland Security refuses to deploy the necessary assets to take care of the problem.

Did I mention President Obama is sending home half the National Guard troops deployed along the border to assist the Border Patrol?

I didn’t read anything in the findings by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez about ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, in which assault rifles were allowed to “walk” across the border to fuel Mexico’s violent drug cartels and ultimately cause the death of a Border Patrol Agent in Arizona. Maybe if the MCSO had stopped a vehicle traveling southbound toward Mexico containing numerous weapons, they would have seized the weapons and arrested the driver. Oh, wait! I forgot that’s racial profiling according to Mr. Perez.

I also didn’t read anything about the Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, murdered on his own property by illegal Mexican aliens on their way through a known smuggling corridor. He also forgot to mention that the day before the shooting, the victim’s brother, Phil Krentz, reported drug smuggling activity on the ranch to the Border Patrol.

Nor did I read anything about the Border Patrol having reason to remove the warning sign 80-miles deep into Arizona that reads, “Danger – Public Warning Travel Not Recommended,” because “smuggling and illegal immigration may be encountered in this area.”

Mr. Perez does not have a $1 million bounty on his head offered by Mexican drug cartels like Sheriff Arpaio does. The sheriff did not earn that distinction for being America’s friendliest sheriff, but its toughest.

The Justice Department needs to stop focusing its energy on law enforcement officials doing their best to protect their citizens, and focus instead on the root cause of Arizona’s dilemma – lack of enforcement of federal immigration laws.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired DEA Supervisory Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the author of three criminal justice textbooks. While on DEA diplomatic assignment in Pakistan, he was involved in the investigation of several notable terrorism events and arrests. He recently retired after more than 39 years of active and reserve service from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chief Warrant Officer Five Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division Command, better known as CID. In 2011 he completed a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan while on special assignment to the Special Operations Command Europe.

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