MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the Border Patrol is too busy babysitting to actually do their jobs.
“The Border Patrol is too busy changing diapers and not going after dope peddlers and illegal immigrants,” Arpaio told Fox News Monday night.
More than 47,000 mostly Central American unaccompanied children have been caught illegally crossing the Mexican border into Texas since October. That’s left border agents in Texas overwhelmed and unable to process so many children. Within the last week, more than 1,000 of them have been transferred to a warehouse in Nogales, Ariz., where they are being processed before being sent to shelters in various states and then reunited with family members.
Arpaio believes President Barack Obama knew this influx of illegal immigrants was going to happen in an effort to push forward immigration reform.
“I think the president knew this was going to happen, so it’s going to help him on his executive orders if Congress doesn’t take this mission up,” Arpaio told Fox News. “It might backfire because of the inhumane situations.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said that the children are being treated humanely and that there is no free pass for young children or anyone else caught trying to cross the border.
“I have been watching them (Border Patrol agents) do absolutely heroic efforts,” Kerlikowske said. “Not only rescuing children but taking care of them, way beyond some of the skill sets. They are doing everything from making formula to brining in their own children’s clothing to taking care of these kids in a multitude of ways.”
In a letter to Johnson, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne demanded the agency immediately stop transferring adult migrants and families from Texas to Arizona. He also asked for the Department of Homeland Security to provide the total number of immigrants sent to Arizona and what steps border agents took to ensure they were healthy and lacking a criminal record.
Horne told Fox News that he has not heard back yet after sending the Border Patrol a “cease and desist” order.
“I haven’t heard back yet. But I cited two federal statutes. One federal statute says that they’re supposed to defend and guard the border, which means they could detain people. They could send them back,” Horne explained to Fox News. “The federal government is supposed to be sending them back to Mexico or Central America. Somebody in the federal government has a bizarre sense of humor and said, ‘Let’s send them to the state of Arizona instead.’”
Arpaio said “there’s something wrong” if the U.S. government can’t stop the influx of immigrants crossing the border.
“This is a great country. You’re trying to tell me we can’t keep people from coming into our country if we really had the desire to do it? I don’t buy it. There’s something wrong,” Arpaio told Fox News.
Border Patrol came under fire last month after dropping off hundreds of women and children who were caught crossing the border illegally into Texas at Tucson and Phoenix Greyhound stations. They are then told to report to immigration authorities within two weeks.
Media agencies have been denied access to the facility, but border agents have let in lawmakers, religious groups, activists and politicians.
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