BREAKING: What Sheriff Joe Just Admitted Sends Shock Waves Through His Re-Election Campaign

Photo credit: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

In what one news source describes as a “stunning about face,” Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has reportedly agreed to admit to what he has long denied — that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has violated a federal court order concerning the racial profiling of Latino drivers in an attempt to determine their immigration status.

The Arizona Republic newspaper reports that Arpaio, in a legal motion filed by his attorneys, “will admit he violated a federal judge’s order in his long-running racial-profiling case and agree to accept sanctions by the court….”

Western Journalism has frequently reported on ways in which “America’s toughest sheriff” has taken on the Obama administration, including the filing of a lawsuit seeking to stop the president’s executive amnesty orders from taking effect. Arpaio and the administration have often clashed on the subject of illegal immigration and what to do about it.

Close to two years ago, a federal judge ruled that the sheriff and his department had broken the law by targeting Latino drivers.

“As part of that ruling, [Judge Murray] Snow mapped out the steps Arpaio had to take to ensure his department ended the unconstitutional practice.”

Now, according to reports, Sheriff Joe is no longer claiming that he and his deputies have been complying with the court order; and he is agreeing to a finding of civil contempt.

“Defendants acknowledge and appreciate that they have violated the Court’s orders and that there are consequences for these violations,” his attorney wrote in a court filling on Wednesday.

Possible consequences of Arpaio’s admission include a public acknowledgement of wrongdoing or the establishment of a fund to compensate those targeted in his department’s profiling campaign.

WND quotes from the court filing that Arpaio’s legal team just submitted:

There is nothing Defendants can do to change what has already been done, but through the entry of an order finding them in civil contempt and by implementing remedies discussed herein, Defendants can express sincere remorse to the Court and to Plaintiffs, begin to make amends to those who have been injured and take affirmative steps to ensure nothing like this occurs in the future.

If the federal court orders Arpaio to compensate Latinos who were illegally profiled, the sheriff could find that he has to come up with much, if not most, of that compensation fund himself — a penalty that would sorely deplete any resources he might have to direct toward his re-election campaign.

Western Journalism reported in January that the 82-year-old sheriff intended to run for a 7th term as the top lawman in Maricopa County. When he announced that he was preparing to do battle in “the toughest campaign I have ever run,” Arpaio made no mention of the just-announced development that is likely to have an impact on his hopes of remaining “America’s toughest sheriff.”

h/t: WND

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

The Obama Admin Just Advised Border Agents To Consider Letting Drunk Drivers Go Free

Image Credit: Wiki Commons

As the legal battle rages over President Obama’s now-blocked executive order on amnesty for illegal immigrants, there’s another legal matter that’s stirring controversy for Border Patrol agents in Arizona.

Imagine if these law enforcement officers were told by their superiors — explicitly advised in a written memo — that they could, and possibly should, let drunk drivers go free. In other words, a preferred option for dealing with intoxicated drivers whom those agents stop would be…to let them keep on driving, even if they pose a serious safety risk to themselves or to others.

You don’t need to imagine such an unthinkable scenario — it’s apparently a reality, one that appears to be an offshoot of the Obama administration’s argument about exercising “prosecutorial discretion” at the border.

According to a Fox News report on a memo obtained by the ever-vigilant Judicial Watch: “The Obama administration is telling Customs and Border Protection agents in a busy stretch of the U.S.-Mexico crossing that they don’t have to arrest intoxicated drivers, sparking backlash from advocacy groups and others.”

Of the three options the advisory from Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) presents to border agents in the Tucson, Arizona, region, the recommended alternative for dealing with drunk drivers is to simply let them go on their way. This advisory apparently pertains to encounters with both illegals immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.

The reason DHS reportedly gives for the “let the drunks” go advice, says the Fox News post, is to try to keep the Border Protection agents out of legal trouble.

The advisory makes clear agents have no legal obligation to intervene in state crimes and that with the third option, “there is generally no liability that will attach to the agent or agency for failing to act in this situation.”

The bulletin, reviewed by FoxNews.com, goes so far as to say agents wouldn’t be liable if they allow the driver “to continue down the road and they kill someone.”

The president of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton, believes the DHS advisory to be more about politics than protection for the border agents. But whatever the reason for it, says Fitton, the policy hurts public safety.

“’Families across America are now at risk on the roads, as President Obama and his appointees at the Department of Homeland Security have given illegal aliens a license to drive drunk,’ he said.”

MADD — Mothers Against Drunk Driving — is also mad about the DHS memo and its implications. The Fox News report quotes the president of the organization as saying that all law enforcement officers — no matter who they are or for which agency they work — should follow “standard procedures” when they encounter a drunk driver.

“’Law enforcement is the first line of defense in preventing drunk and drugged driving, and their efforts are crucial to keep our roadways safe.’”

h/t: Fox News

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Arizona Sheriff Calls Out Obama, Insists Our Borders Are Not “More Secure Than Ever”

U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

For all of President Obama’s talk of the border being safer than ever, Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu provided some evidence to the contrary when he spoke before the House Judiciary Committee on the issue of illegal immigration Tuesday.

Babeu, America’s 2011 “Sheriff of the Year” and an Iraq War veteran, testified before the committee that between 88,000 and 123,000 illegal aliens are apprehended at the Tucson Sector, one of nine border-patrol zones along the U.S.-Mexico border, each year. The Tucson Sector covers most of the state of Arizona from the New Mexico state line to the Yuma County line — a total of 262 border miles.

Between 17 and 30 percent of those apprehended have a criminal record in the U.S. “This clearly shows that the border is not more secure than ever,” Babeu said.

He also detailed how 30 to 50 illegal alien criminals are released into Pinal County every day. “These are the people that everybody, including the president, said are the bad actors,” he said. Many of those released have criminal records that include rape, manslaughter, child molestation, financial crimes, armed robbery, and assault against law enforcement.

Babeu said he has asked the federal government for more information regarding those individuals and their criminal histories, but the government refuses to give it to him. “I, as the sheriff, who swore an oath to protect the people of my county, should have a right to that information,” Babeu declared.

He stressed to committee members that the situation is so lawless in some areas of Pinal County — the number one pass through county in America for drug and human smuggling — that it often feels like a war-zone on American soil.

In one day, law enforcement arrested 78 members of a well-known drug cartel and seized 108 illegal weapons. “[These are] not just handguns,” Babeu said. “These are scoped rifles and AK-47s, two of which were traced back to the Fast and Furious operation. This is in my county.”

He also spoke of illegal aliens who serve as scouts for drug-runs, equipped with binoculars and encrypted radios so they can avoid law enforcement. “When I tell a story like that, having served a tour in Iraq and commanded soldiers in the army, it almost appears I’m telling a story of some war-torn area,” Babeu said. “This is on American soil.”

“That’s what’s so disruptive,” he continued, “is the fact that here, as the sheriff, where our primary job is to answer 9-1-1 calls, how on Earth did we get here to this place that local law enforcement is leading the effort to fight criminal syndicates from a foreign nation on American soil?”

“I would urge this Congress,” he said, “to stand up as a lawmaking body, to enforce the laws, just as you expect me and every other law enforcement officer locally to do, and secure the border.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Grand Canyon Covered By A Sea Of Clouds

National Park Service

A temperature inversion at the Grand Canyon National Park Wednesday caused a layer of clouds to settle below the rim, turning the canyon into a sea of clouds. This one minute time-lapse video recorded at Hopi Point on the South Rim represents thirty minutes of cloud movement. The cold air filling the canyon is trapped by warmer air that lies above it, trapping the fog in place.

h/t: Mashable

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Obama Snubs Veterans While Giving Speech In Phoenix

Photo credit: The City Project (Flickr)

Although President Barack Obama visited Phoenix, Ariz.,  Thursday, his itinerary did not entail a visit to the city’s Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. For the last year, the VA has been the focus of a scandal involving delays in providing healthcare to service members.

Obama spoke at Central High School in Phoenix Thursday, touting an administration proposal to lower mortgage premiums, The Arizona Republic reported.

The VA scandal came to light last year, where dozens of veterans died as a result of the delay of care–and about 1,700 more were in danger of being “lost or forgotten” in the VA’s bureaucracy, according to VA Inspector General Richard Griffin. Veterans had to wait an average of 115 days for care, according to reports.

As KSAZ noted, the presidential motorcade passed the Phoenix facility to and from Central High School; but no stop was made, despite Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and groups including Concerned Veterans for America pressuring Obama to do so. McCain blasted the president for the snub in a statement Thursday, The Hill reported:

It is deeply disappointing that the president refused to take time to visit the veterans at the Phoenix VA, where the national scandal of mismanagement in VA health care first surfaced this spring.

Matthew Kenney of Concerned Veterans for America also condemned Obama and echoed McCain’s sentiments, according to The Washington Free Beacon:

We would think if he was serious about VA reform that he would come down to the Phoenix VA, see what the problems are. See them first hand and come up with solutions on how to fix it.

Jesus Miramon, who served during the Vietnam era and was present outside the school where Obama was speaking, also expressed his displeasure. “It is true that he should not be hating a vet today, he should be showing us a little love today,” Miramon told KNXV.

Sally Barnes, another protester on the ground, was also displeased with the president. “That was a smack in the face for my family and all the veterans that are suffering because of the VA hospital,” she said to KSAZ. “A mortgage is more important than veterans dying? They are heroes.”

Here is how others reacted to the president skipping the VA hospital in Phoenix:

h/t: KSAZ

Image credit: The City Project (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom