Border Patrol Vets Express Support for Sheriff Joe

By Jessica M. Vaughan on October 20, 2009

A national association of veteran border patrol agents has endorsed Sheriff Joe Arpaio's efforts to help with immigration law enforcement in Maricopa County, Ariz., and criticized the Obama administration's recent efforts to "water down" immigration enforcement and the 287(g) program in particular. On Friday, the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers sent a letter of support to the sheriff praising his efforts and policies, calling them "courageous and steadfast."

The letter followed news that DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano had stripped Arpaio's department of the ability to use immigration law enforcement authorities to address criminal activity by foreign nationals in Maricopa County. Arpaio's department was one of 36 law enforcement agencies across the nation that volunteered to have officers trained to use immigration law in criminal investigations. This authority has proved to be highly effective in disrupting criminal activity linked to illegal immigration, such as alien smuggling, gangs, drug trafficking, and document fraud rings. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, has been severely affected by illegal immigration, and it is the primary hub for the alien smuggling industry. The sheriff has launched 11 targeted crime-suppression operations in which his deputies utilized the 287(g) authority to investigate and charge roughly 200 immigration violators who were discovered, putting them on the path to removal. Previous ICE audits found no serious problems with Arpaio's program. But on Friday, new ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton said these efforts were "not consistent with new priorities, which is [sic] removing severe criminal offenders who pose a danger to society."

Below is the text of the NAFBPO letter to Sheriff Arpaio:

Dear Sheriff Arpaio:

On behalf of all members of NAFBPO, the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, I wish to express our wholehearted support and congratulations for your courageous and steadfast position and policies regarding illegal aliens. In light of our own government’s attempts to undermine the border security of this country with the recent shortsighted 287(g) watering down, you have shown the determination to continue to do what is best for our country, even in the face of political pressures designed only to appease and appeal to those who cater to illegal aliens.

It is your determination to continue to preserve law and order that makes you and your office a model for other law enforcement professionals to follow.

Please accept our heartfelt gratitude and our best wishes for your administration.