Hands down, Joe Arpaio is the toughest sheriff in America. And although he is most well-known for his tough treatment of prisoners, Arpaio has over 30 years experience with different federal drug enforcement agencies, and, as the former head of border and drug enforcement in Texas and Arizona, he is one of the country’s leading experts on how to shut down illegal immigration and cross-border drug trafficking.
His is a hard-core, no-frills approach to incarceration, with 10,000 Maricopa County, Ariz., prisoners held in old Army surplus tents, fed on bologna sandwiches, and clothed in black-and-white striped, old-style prison uniforms and pink underwear.
His prisoners have worked on chain gangs, and they are forbidden fancy gyms, cigarettes, entertaining television and even salt and pepper.
Although prisoners would not agree, Arpaio, 76, has become an American folk hero of penology.
His new book, “Joe's Law: America's Toughest Sheriff Takes on Illegal Immigration, Drugs and Everything Else That Threatens America,” co-authored with Len Sherman, presents a bold new approach to finally, once and for all, shutting down America’s borders to criminal Mexican people-smugglers, fence-jumpers and drug peddlers.
[Editor’s Note: Get Joe Arpaio and Len Sherman’s book. Go here now.]]
Despite his experience, neither politician nor president has ever asked Joe Arpaio what we should do to plug up America’s sieve-like borders. He recently revealed his plan to Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
Newsmax: How big of a problem is illegal immigration in the U.S. today?
Sheriff Arpaio: It is an enormous problem. Illegal aliens are responsible for a huge percentage of illegal drugs — marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin — which destroy the lives of our youth. Some 22 percent of the people in my jails are illegal aliens! We’re talking about people in jail for murder, rape, and every other kind of violence. It must be stopped.
Newsmax: How would you stop illegal immigration?
Arpaio: First of all, crossing the border illegally is a crime — a felony. Arrest everybody involved. They are co-conspirators in human trafficking. In Phoenix, we started putting the illegal alien smugglers, and their customers, in jail, instead of turning them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE], which just gives them a free trip back to Mexico, so they can jump the border again.
Newsmax: What would you do with the illegals?
Arpaio: I would erect tent jails right on the border, and courts — convict and jail them for six months. You can’t work and send money back to your loved ones if you’re in jail. That will take away a lot of their incentive for illegally entering the U.S.
Newsmax: Do you check immigration status when you arrest someone?
Arpaio: When we arrest inmates, we check their immigration status and, if they are illegals, we prosecute. They usually get probation and deportation and, if they are caught here again, they get five years in prison.
Newsmax: What about federal/state/county cooperation?
Arpaio: I like “cross-designation,” and have sworn in 300 FBI, ICE and DEA agents as deputies, and they now can enforce Arizona state law as well as federal law. Also, 160 of my officers are sworn in with full power as federal agents.
Newsmax: What about the federal border fence?
Arpaio: You might sell more shovels and ladders — that’s about it. If you’re going to spend billions of dollars on a fence, why not just put some jails on the border and dump them in there?
Newsmax: How do you feel about amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S.?
Arpaio: I’m against it. It’s a matter of fairness. Why should someone who is here illegally be rewarded with an easy path to citizenship? However, with McCain and Obama as the candidates, I predict there will be some form of amnesty in this country.
I took an oath to enforce all the laws, and so did politicians. Why are they not enforcing immigration laws?
Newsmax: How do we control illegal drugs coming across the border?
Arpaio: Attack it at the source. About 90 percent of the heroin comes from Afghanistan. I would hope this president drops a few bombs on the opium fields while we are fighting a war there. All we need is the national will to stop it.
Newsmax: What about putting the military on the border?
Arpaio: I’m against that. If you give the military the border, they will be enforcing the law deep inside the U.S. It can turn into a dictatorship. This is a law enforcement issue — build up law enforcement and give them the resources to do it. If you want tanks on the border, give law enforcement tanks.
Newsmax: You started an illegal immigration alert hotline — how’s that working out?
Arpaio: Great! In the last 12-15 months, we have had 5,000 phone calls with leads. Now, we have an employer sanction law, and I am enforcing that law. You can lose your license if you hire illegal immigrants.
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