Thursday, June 9, 2011

Concerns Over Illegal Immigration Becoming Mainstream

Once upon a time opposition to illegal immigration was championed by a few special interest groups and outspoken leaders like Tom Tancredo and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Not so anymore. Regular sheriffs like Arizona’s Paul Babeu of Pinal County and Larry Dever of Cochise County are speaking up loudly about their frustrations dealing with it.
The Obama administration gets credit for mainstreaming the issue. Obama moved the country backwards on fixing the problem by suing Arizona over SB 1070 and decreasing funding for enforcement. One federal prosecutor in Texas refuses to prosecute illegal immigrants until they have been arrested seven times. He will not prosecute them with a felony until they have been caught 14 times. Even more egregiously, he does not prosecute coyotes smuggling fewer than six illegal immigrants. These policies are in place throughout Texas.
All the progress Arizona has made the past few years reducing illegal immigration and associated crime due to the efforts of Sheriff Arpaio, Senator Russell Pearce and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is now being eroded. The Border Patrol reports that 219,300 illegal immigrants were apprehended coming through the Tucson Sector last year. But as many as 350,000 to 400,000 were not caught, with many heading north through Sheriff Babeu’s Pinal County. It is a bad time to be decreasing enforcement efforts. According to Sheriff Dever, illegal immigration is getting worse. "The bottom line is the people we’re battling are much more sinister and much more aggressive, much more determined than they have ever been,” Dever said on NPR. “When they used to run away, now they want to fight." The Yuma Sector is the only sector along the border that has “operational control” over its 126-mile section of the more than 3,000-mile border with Mexico.

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