Yes, you are being lied to about immigration enforcement in El Paso County, but not by me.

One thing you will discover about me is a pesky trait I have. I am blunt, direct, to the point, and I am anything but politically correct (PC). You’ll see that in me when I am your next Sheriff. This post won’t be any different.

Is El Paso County a de facto Sanctuary County?

Do we operate as a de facto Sanctuary County? I believe we do. Here’s why:

  • In 2015, the incumbent Sheriff TERMINATED a joint immigration enforcement program with ICE.
  • Without enforcement, there is no deterrence.
  • Without enforcement or deterrence, people have a sense of sanctuary, a place of refuge or safety.

A locale need not officially declare itself a Sanctuary City, County, or State to operate like one. Denver is widely recognized as a Sanctuary City, even though the Mayor will deny it.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…you get the point.

The Sheriff ENDED Immigration Enforcement in 2015

I won’t repeat the details of the incumbent Sheriff’s termination of the 287(g) enforcement program in May 2015, since I have written extensively about that on my campaign website:

Message to the Citizens of El Paso County: I Will END Our de Facto SANCTUARY Status

Message to the Citizens of El Paso County: Our de Facto Sanctuary Status, Part 2

Incumbent Sheriff Speaks About Terminating Illegal Immigration Enforcement Program

The most salient point is one that is impossible for the incumbent to dodge: He ended an enforcement program with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that had been in place and working effectively from circa 2008 to 2015.

Once I began to criticize this decision in mid-January 2018, the Sheriff became defensive, appearing to obfuscate the facts. He tried to claim he fully cooperates with ICE – but that’s not plausible after terminating a program of cooperation with ICE.

He re-wrote EPSO immigration policy two days after my first criticism, using language to give the impression of having a tough enforcement program, but never mentioning that he ended enforcement. It was a classic flip-flop because he sensed the political winds were not blowing in his favor on this subject.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Illegal Immigration Policy Flip-Flop

One of the points he’s made regularly to demonstrate how EPSO and ICE are practically joined at the hip is the presence of an ICE office in the jail. I called him out on that since I knew that office hadn’t seen an ICE agent in years. Other than cobwebs and some file boxes, the room was used for little more than storage.

He started to call it a storage room after I pointed out his misleading statements, but it was incredibly disingenuous to hold out that office as a sign of cooperation when it wasn’t.

The Sheriff has also used language to suggest that he really wants to cooperate with ICE, but that ICE doesn’t seem to want to participate in enforcement. Two issues with that:

  • The INCUMBENT terminated the 287(g) program in 2015, not ICE. The Sheriff walked away from cooperation, not the feds.
  • That claim doesn’t square with his other claim to be fully cooperating with ICE. He cannot have it both ways.

Is the Incumbent the Expert on 287(g)?

He made this expertise claim during his speech before the El Paso County GOP General Assembly on March 24th, but it doesn’t jibe with reality. He was recently sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for allegedly detaining illegal immigrants unlawfully.

As a staunch conservative myself (I’d argue the only true one in this race), I don’t particularly care what the ACLU thinks, but it’s what the presiding District Court judge, Eric Bentley, stated in his preliminary injunction that caught my eye:

“…if the Sheriff were to enter into a formal written agreement with ICE pursuant to section 1357(g)(1) (a so-called ‘287(g) agreement’)…(it) would provide the authority to arrest that is missing from this case. Significantly, (it) existed in the past. The Sheriff’s Office entered into a 287(g) agreement with ICE in 2013, which it terminated in 2015.”

In other words, the self-proclaimed ‘expert on 287(g)’ made a rookie mistake, a self-inflicted wound, an avoidable error because he simply DOES NOT UNDERSTAND the program. Had he kept 287(g) in place, then the county could have avoided the lawsuit.

Download a copy of the judge’s order here: Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction

I don’t know about you, but I find it perverse that the Sheriff would claim bragging rights for being sued by anyone – even the ACLU – when the suit was avoidable. I am never cynical about taxpayer money and patience. After all, YOU will foot the bill, lawyers’ costs, court fees, and a possible settlement, for the Sheriff’s mistakes.

Misleading Statements About Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County

During the same speech before the General Assembly, the Sheriff downplayed the importance of the 287(g) program and stated that it is not in place in many locations in the United States, “…not even in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County.” This appeared to be a way of suggesting that even the tough-on-immigration Sheriff Joe dumped 287(g) because it was somehow a bad program.

Not true at all. In 2011, President Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, revoked Maricopa County’s 287(g) program for alleged abuses. If anything, Sheriff Joe was perceived to be too tough on enforcement, too enthusiastic a user of the program, and certainly not what the incumbent El Paso County Sheriff suggested.

Feds Pull 287(g) Authority From Maricopa County Jails Because of Civil Rights Violations

Not to be overlooked is that Sheriff Arpaio hasn’t held office in years, and a liberal Democrat Sheriff has replaced him, one with apparent similar political leanings as our incumbent Sheriff.

Does the Incumbent Sheriff Support President Trump?

From all appearances, he’s keeping his distance from supporting President Trump’s tough stand on immigration enforcement. The following headline alone from this 2017 article should serve as a strong clue:

Why El Paso County’s Sheriff Doesn’t Plan To Help With Trump’s Immigration Enforcement

Still unsure? Check out how the Sheriff criticized President Trump for ‘waffling’ on immigration policy:

Incumbent Sheriff Criticizes President Trump for ‘Waffling’ on Immigration Policy

As you listen to this and other past speeches, particularly when he addresses reliably left-of-center groups, the Sheriff uses the squishy, fluffy language of liberalism, the language he appears comfortable with. Instead of calling them illegal immigrants, he refers to them as ‘undocumented workers,’ or the redundant ‘foreign-born immigrants,’ among other progressive dog-whistle terms.

Is El Paso County a Sanctuary County?

Is the Incumbent a Closet Liberal Masquerading as a Republican?

If it walks like a duck…quacks like a duck…

You decide.