Arpaio: It's Time To Let Politicians Know We're 'Mad As Hell' That Our Border Is Not Secure


Remember that old 1976 film “Network” when a news anchor pronounces on-air, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore”?

That comes to mind when I think about President Donald Trump’s worthy fight with Democrats to get funding to secure our southern border.

He has called it a matter of national security, and it is, particularly in relation to drug trafficking and the gang activity associated with it.

As a sheriff in Arizona for 24 years and before that an agent and regional director with the Drug Enforcement Administration for over two decades, I witnessed firsthand the human suffering caused by drug abuse.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that every day an average of 130 Americans die from opioid overdoses alone.

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Beyond the individual human toll, I also saw while working with the DEA throughout Latin America and the Middle East, how the enormous profits generated by the illegal drug trade led to public corruption, gang-related violence and the destabilization of democracies.

All this makes me mad, and something else that angers me is that our law enforcement officers and every day Americans are becoming casualties as politicians fail year-after-year to secure our border.

Just last week, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, a Mexican national in the country illegally, gunned down California police officer Ronil Singh during a traffic stop.

Singh, who immigrated to the U.S. legally, left behind a wife and 5-month-old son. What a senseless tragedy.

Arriaga had prior arrests and is a suspected gang member. He should not have been in our country!

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson got it right when he said California’s sanctuary policies are to blame.

President Trump also rightly pointed out this week that even if Arriaga had been deported to Mexico after his prior arrests, as he should have been, he could have easily come back into our country because our border is not secure.

This belief by some politicians that illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico are not a security threat to our country simply is not true.

I recall as Maricopa County Sheriff having 50 illegal aliens in our jails at one point, the majority from Mexico, who had been charged with homicide.

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During another period, we counted 23 suspects charged with various crimes, who were from known terrorist countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Critics, politicians and some administration officials say that the majority of arrests of drug traffickers from Mexico are made at the ports of entry, meaning we should focus our security efforts there.

Obviously, that is important, yet I recall numerous arrests made by my deputies where traffickers used illegal aliens crossing the desert to transport their drugs.

President Trump is correct when he says we must build a wall, even in some of these remote areas, not only to stop illegal immigration, but also illegal drugs flowing into our country.

In “Network,” anchor Howard Beale says, “We know things are bad, worse than bad. They are crazy.”

“I want you to get mad,” he continues. “I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.’”

People all over the country followed his instructions in the film and stuck their heads out their windows and doors and yelled.

We need to stick our head out of our proverbial windows and yell too. If your politician supports Trump’s effort to secure our border, let’em know you’re with them.

If they don’t, let them know that providing for the safety of our country is their first duty as elected officials, and if they can’t do it, we’ll get someone who will!

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio had a long and decorated career in law enforcement before being elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1992. He is now a Special Contributor to The Western Journal.
Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio had a long and decorated career in law enforcement before being elected to Sheriff of Maricopa County in 1992.

After serving in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1953, and as a Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, NV, police officer, Arpaio went on to build a law enforcement career as a federal narcotics agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For almost a decade, Arpaio was stationed in foreign countries where he headed the DEA combatting the drug trade in which, even by today’s standards, are highly volatile and dangerous in Turkey, the Middle East, Mexico and Central and South America. He was also a diplomatic attaché. In his last years with the DEA, Arpaio also gained invaluable expertise on border issues and enforcement as the head of the DEA in the border states of Arizona and Texas. He concluded his remarkable federal career as head of the DEA for Arizona.

In 1992, Arpaio successfully campaigned to become the Sheriff of Maricopa County, becoming the head of the nation’s third largest Sheriff’s Office which employs over 3,400 people. He served an unprecedented six 4-year terms. During his tenure as Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio consistently earned high public approval ratings.

In August, 1993, he started the nation’s largest Tent City for convicted inmates. Two thousand convicted men and women serve their sentences in a canvas incarceration compound. It was here that Arpaio launched his get-tough policies for inmates. He banned smoking, coffee, movies, pornographic magazines, and unrestricted TV in all jails. It is a remarkable success story that has attracted the attention of government officials, presidential candidates, and media worldwide.

Of equal success and notoriety were his chain gangs, which contributed thousands of dollars of free labor to the community by picking up litter, painting over graffiti and burying the indigent in the county cemetery.

Another program Arpaio was very well known for is the pink underwear he made all inmates wear. Years ago, when the Sheriff learned that inmates were stealing jailhouse white boxers, Arpaio had all inmate underwear dyed pink for better inventory control.

As chief law enforcement officer for the county, Arpaio continued to reduce crime with hard-hitting enforcement methods. He began an all-volunteer posse of 3,000 members, making it the nation’s largest volunteer posse. Posse men and women help in search and rescue and other traditional police work as well as in special operations like rounding up deadbeat parents, fighting prostitution, patrolling malls during holidays, and investigating animal cruelty complaints. The posse’s contributions are invaluable and essentially free to taxpayers.

In addition to these tough measures, the Sheriff launched rehabilitative programs like “Hard Knocks High,” the only accredited high school under a Sheriff in an American jail, and ALPHA, an anti-substance-abuse program that has greatly reduced recidivism.

He is now a Special Contributor to The Western Journal.

On a personal note, Sheriff Arpaio and his wife Ava have been married for over 56 years and have two children, both residing in the Phoenix area. The Arpaios have four grandchildren.
Topics of Expertise
Drug Enforcement, Law Enforcement, Politics