Somehow, this is hardly surprising news. Out in Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be getting ready to go round and round with the Department of Homeland Security, over tweaks to a federal program that had allowed Arpaio's to make federal immigration arrests. The major tweak? HomeSec no longer wants Arpaio and his office to make those arrests.
Typical. The new program would require Arpaio to clear plans for immigration sweeps with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and to touch base with them before publicizing any efforts. Arpaio has not yet signed on with this new program, and I can't blame him a bit. What the hell kind of program requires a Sheriff to clear doing his job with a federal agency? The kind we have come to expect anymore.
On July 24, Arpaio and his office arrested 25 illegal immigrants during a three-day sweep, but ten of them were later released, as they had committed no other crimes (save for illegally entering the country...might as well be a traffic ticket for all the enforcement).
Speaking of enforcement, that is more or less what HomeSec is trying to sell us, as they have created a three-tier priority system, with illegal immigrants with major drug offenses or violent crimes being top priority, and those with prior records making up the middle. Illegal immigrants whose only illegal act is, well, being an illegal immigrant, are not covered under the program. The guise of the program, according to HomeSec yeshole Matthew Chandler, is to spend department resources wisely. (You can cue up the soundbite from Blazing Saddles, where the townsfolk emphatically reply "bullshit!").
So, Obama can be ambivalent on every damn thing thrown at him thus far, from the economy to the wars overseas to the damn beer choice for some pointless goddamned sitdown, but the new plan his Homeland Security secretary (the former Governor of Arizona, to boot) can hatch is to stop arresting so many illegal immigrants? Seriously? We can't take the legalization of marijuana seriously in this country, even now that Tim Geithner says a lower deficit is the key to fixing the economy, but apparently, we can look the other way on this? Still?
Chandler continued to yeshole away, saying that with the limited resources, the focus needs to be on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat. Here's an idea that's just crazy enough to work. Maybe you should determine what kind of public threat they actually pose, instead of the oh-so-popular catch-and-release policy we have been practicing for far too long?
Arpaio has vowed to continue his efforts, even if it is only by enforcing more limited Arizona state laws prohibiting immigrant smuggling and banning companies from knowingly hiring illegal immigrant workers. That is, until our federal government tells him he needs to clear that with them, as well.