Featured, Immigration

Gary Johnson: Sheriff Joe’s Candidacy Will be an Entertaining Sideshow

He’s back. The guy whose idea of prison reform was to make inmates live in tents and wear pink jumpsuits. The guy who thought it was not just OK for law enforcement to randomly stop Hispanics and ask to see their “papers”, but who tried to require it.

He was convicted of disobeying a Federal Court order to stop his racial profiling…and then pardoned by President Trump. He was sued at least 11 times for targeting political opponents, and at least 11 times, taxpayers picked up the tab for settlements. In 2016, voters had finally had enough and tossed him out of office.

Yes, that guy. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona. Now, he says he’s going to run for the U.S. Senate.

Is this a great country or what?

Reason be damned: Sheriff Joe is running for Senate

And it would appear that age, conviction for contempt of court, losing an election, nor anything else has tempered the Sheriff’s views, particularly when it comes to how we treat immigrants. While even normally hard-line immigration “hawks” are acknowledging that Congress needs to find a way to grant a legal status to deserving DACA kids — young people brought or sent here as children without documents, Mr. Arpaio is using his celebrity to go on NPR to say: “Deport them”.

Arpaio’s plan: Deport them, and since they have been educated here, they will be “good ambassadors” for America when they return to whatever country they came from — notwithstanding the fact that they may not even remember that country of origin, and may have a little resentment about being sent back there by America.

I sincerely hope that Arpaio’s attempt to be elected to the Senate on a xenophobic platform will be little more than an entertaining sideshow. Democrats across the country are salivating at the prospect of how much money an Arpaio candidacy will bring in. Republicans…Well, I suspect they are having visions of another Roy Moore disaster that could further endanger their slim control of the Senate.

Regardless, the simple fact that Joe Arpaio can still be a factor in a U.S. Senate race reminds us of the extent to which immigration has persisted as a political football at the hands of a vocal minority. As a former border-state Governor, I’ve long seen what a great many polls have consistently shown: The majority of Americans can actually come to agreement on common sense immigration policies pretty quickly — and without the alarmist hyperbole so many politicians have employed.

Today’s debate over the DACA kids, or Dreamers, is a perfect example. This shouldn’t even be a debate. The notion that a young person brought here “illegally” through no choice or intent of his or her own, educated here, employed here, or perhaps even having served in our military, should be deported is ridiculous.

Yet, here we are, watching as the President and Congress use these 800,000 human beings as bargaining chips in negotiations over a big beautiful Wall.

Ignore the sideshow, focus on immigration reform

Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn’t really very important in the larger scheme of things. 800,000 young people with a cloud of possible deportation hanging over their lives ARE important.  The idea of spending $40 billion we don’t have on a silly Wall IS important.

And replacing xenophobia and cruel political opportunism with common sense and American humanity is REALLY important.

If the return of Sheriff Joe to the public stage somehow helps us reach a tipping point in favor of that common sense and humanity, that would be a good thing.

(Photo of Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona on June 18th, 2016 by Gage Skidmore)

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