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