The Sheriff

Arizona residents, long-time conservatives, and other law & order mavens, certainly know the tall tales of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

For those not in the know Arpaio — the “toughest sheriff in America” — has for almost 20 years been titillating law enforcement hawks and angering and dispiriting liberal idiots in the media and on university campuses.

I distinctly recall seeing in the mid-1990’s one of those news magazine exposes on “Sheriff Joe.” He had set up old-fashioned chain gangs in his county and was making felons work hard labor, outdoors, in 110-plus degree conditions. At night he housed them in open tents. The ashen-faced interviewer asked Sheriff Joe whether he was concerned the inmates might try to escape. They were not enclosed or even shackled. I don’t remember the exact words he used in reply, but Sheriff Joe said something like this: “By the time I’m through with them they’re too broken to think about anything but sleeping.”

In any event, Arpaio has been back in the news lately in connection with the ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants. Here’s a link to an AP article from earlier today. For obvious reasons, the article heavily is laden with the AP’s liberal agenda and bias. The heart of the story, however, translates quite well into reality speak (as edited by yours truly):

Three years ago Arpaio set up a special unit to deal with people sneaking across the border. Since then, his office has arrested 900 illegal immigrants under a state human smuggling law and set up a hotline for reporting immigration violations.

Arpaio said recent sweeps in which 150 people were arrested, nearly half of whom are illegal immigrants, were prompted in part by business owners’ complaints about crime among illegals.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the sheriff has stayed within the bounds of an agreement that gave special training and immigration powers to 160 of his officers.

Weeks after the recent sweeps, 20 Spanish-speaking day laborers gathered at a dusty intersection to wait for people to offer them work. Ramon Arajon Contreras, a laborer from Mexico, who has lived in Guadalupe, Arizona, since 2000, said the sweep frightened him so much that he hid out in his house until it was over. He said he is still afraid.

‘If I see immigration officers,’ said Contreras, ‘it’s like I see the devil.’

“Dirty Harry” Callahan can’t hold a candle.

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