Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff (Phoenix Valley), Joe Arpaio, has been featured on 60-minutes and in many newspapers for his tough, no-nonsense approach to law enforcement. Mr. Arpaio is considered controverial, maybe because he gets the job done, he is creative and tough minded.
In 1999 CNN reported the Maricopa County sheriff, who opened the nation's largest tent prison in 1993, saved taxpayers pennies and it matters more than comforting convicted felons.
"We took away coffee, that saved $150,000 a year. Why do you need coffee in jail?" says Arpaio, patrolling the dusty, barren grounds. "Switched to bologna sandwiches, that saved half a million dollars a year."
Arpaio makes inmates pay for their meals, which some say are worse than those for the guard dogs. Canines eat $1.10 worth of food a day, the inmate 90 cents, the sheriff says. "I'm very proud of that too."
Inmates follow strict fashion and lifestyle guidelines. They are forced to wear old-fashioned prison stripes and pink underwear. Prohibited items include cigarettes, adult magazines, hot lunches and television -- except for his bedtime story reading, a self-styled literacy program broadcast nightly to the inmates.
A recall effort was started against Sheriff Arpaio in 2005 to no avail. Many accusations were made but Arpaio is still standing and enforcing the law.
Arpaio announced that approximately 100 volunteer posse and Sheriff's Deputies will soon begin randomly patrolling the desert areas and main roadways in southwest Maricopa County as a part of an operation to curb the flow of illegal immigrants entering the county.
Despite the growing controversy about illegal aliens nationwide, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office remains the only Arizona law enforcement agency willing to enforce a new state anti-smuggling law.
"There are so many illegals trying to make it into the county that it's overwhelming my deputies, so I have called on members of my 3000 member volunteer posse to assist," says Sheriff Arpaio. "It's not only illegals we find and arrest out there, we've also made some recent huge drug seizures involving illegal aliens including nearly 100 pounds of methamphetamine and approximately three pounds of heroin."
Arpaio says his deputies so far have made seven anti smuggling cases in the last few weeks alone and that 120 illegals have been arrested and jailed. Arpaio houses 10,000 prisoners in his jails, including almost 2000 in tent city. Tent City is being expanded to hold an anticipated increase of inmates being incarcerated in the Maricopa County jails.
Political rhetoric and failure to enforce laws is the real problem with illegal immigration. Arpaio is receiving the side benefit of drug law enforcement as well. There is no exact number of illegal immigrants in America today; the figure ranges from 7 to 20 million. Massive action through enforcing laws will create massive results. Legislated amnesty will only create larger floods across our porous borders.