Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona wants to have a “man-to-man” sit down with President Obama over beers and cigars and really discuss the illegal immigration issue. The Obama administration claims Sheriff Joe is violating the “civil rights” of Hispanics, while he says he is simply enforcing the existing law. Despite a lawsuit pending against him, Sheriff Joe just won re-election at the age of 80 years old.
No stranger to controversy, Sheriff Joe has always done things his way. His tent cities and pink garments for inmates caught the public’s attention in the mid-1990s, soon after taking office in 1993. He has been accused of violating prisoner’s “rights” and treating them inhumanely. The accusations never stick, even though his critics have spent considerable courtroom time trying to do so. It seems that at every turn, Sheriff Joe is always one step ahead with the law on his side. It is almost like he knows what is lawful and what is not.
Unlike many others county sheriffs around this country, Sheriff Joe well understands just how much power and influence he really has. He should be a model for other sheriffs, but few have the tenacity and temerity that he does. He knows exactly what he can and can’t do, and Maricopa County is grateful to have him. He has been re-elected five times and he plans on running again in 2016. Instead of thanking and honoring him for his bold service, the Obama administration has sued him for his stand on illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe claims that Obama’s “amnesty” for illegals is unfair to those who have come here legally (he’s right about this), and that he is simply following the letter of Arizona law, which, as Governor Jan Brewer has shown, closely follows federal law.
Sheriff Joe has consistently made the point that his goal as sheriff is to decrease crime and make his jails a place where criminals think twice before returning. “I’m an old-time guy,” Joe says, “I just use common sense.” As Joe can attest though, common sense is becoming much less common these days. Rather than fighting crime and keeping Maricopa County safe for non-criminal residents, Joe has spent a large portion of his time defending his policies and techniques to naysayers and left-wing activists.
Despite the negative publicity, however, Sheriff Joe is more than ready to defend his decisions, even to the President of the United States. He has said that he recently discovered the power of “constructive dialogue,” the age-old idea of actually talking face-to-face to settle disagreements and misunderstandings, rather than using courtrooms and expensive judicial proceedings. Sheriff Joe believes he can settle more with President Obama with a beer and a stogie than any lawsuit ever could. Perhaps he’s right. But I suspect that this will never actually happen. Obama has nothing to gain from a sit-down with Sheriff Joe. The time for diplomacy has passed as of November 6. Sheriff Joe, as I’m sure he already knows, had better resign himself to “sticking to his guns.” The only discussion he’ll be having with Obama’s people will be in a legal proceeding.