But if his enemies think this would cause Sheriff Joe Arpaio to keep a lower profile, they will be very disappointed.
Today, Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ erected a McDonald’s-style sign outside the fence of his famous “Tent City” jail touting how many inmates – more than 430,000 – who have been “served” since he opened it 19 years ago.
“Why would anyone call for an end to this program and the closure of Tent City?” said Arpaio announcing the sign. ”Tent City makes room for inmates who otherwise might be released to the streets due to overcrowded jails. It’s one of the best things to have happened in the local criminal justice system.”
Tent City, began in 1993 and is made up of Korean War tents used to house inmates – many of them illegal aliens – for a sheriff’s department which serves the 4th most populous county in America.
Critics have long been angered by what they call “humiliating” conditions, including the 40-cent bologna sandwiches and pink underwear that “America’s Toughest Sheriff” makes his roughly 3,000 inmates endure.
When an AP reporter visited Tent City on a particularly hot day a few years back, he interviewed an inmate complaining that “It feels like you’re in a furnace, it’s inhumane!” Arpaio overhead this and shot back:
“It’s 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they did not commit any crimes, so shut your damned mouths!”
Amen to that. And while much of the publicity around Tent City is entertaining, what is little known by most Americans is just how much of the dirty work of the nation’s immigration enforcement is completed by Arpaio and his deputies each year. Arpaio’s office – in a single county – apprehends a staggering 25% of all criminal illegal aliens in the entire United States every year.
That means he doesn’t just keep illegal alien criminals out of Arizona cities, but since Arizona is the gateway for illegal entry into the U.S., he also keeps them from threatening Americans from coast to coast.
For example, two weeks ago Arpaio’s detectives apprehended 20 illegals being smuggled through Maricopa – including one wanted on an outstanding felony warrant in Oregon. All 20 of the captured illegals were headed to states other than Arizona.
So the next time you see a photo of an inmate inside Tent City in pink underwear, remember that he may well be there because Joe kept him from getting to a town near you – and send him a thank you email to let him know you appreciate it.