Sheriff Joe: Trump Should Get Award from Congress for Border Wall Money Management


All this hand-wringing by Democrats and even some Republicans about President Donald Trump shifting money, primarily within the Defense Department, to border wall funding is all political and frankly just silly.

I give Trump credit. He single-handedly made illegal immigration and border security an issue in the 2016 election. And he’s done more than any president over my 35 years working on both sides of the border, first in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and for 24 years as the Maricopa County Sheriff in Arizona.

On Friday, Trump declared a national emergency for something that truly has become a humanitarian and security crisis in order to secure $8 billion to upgrade and build additional barriers at the southern border.

In addition to the $1.375 billion that Congress just voted to authorize, the president is pulling $3.6 billion from a DOD construction fund, $2.5 billion from a drug interdiction program (also through the Pentagon) and $600 million from a drug forfeiture fund at the Treasury Department.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are screaming bloody murder, saying Trump has “gone outside the bounds of the law.”

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“The president’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution,” they said. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

You know, I don’t recall hearing a peep out of these two when former President Barack Obama made mutliple unilateral decisions, including when he in effect created executive amnesty for millions of people in our country illegally through the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program in 2012.

Only a year earlier, Obama himself argued he had no constitutional authority to do so without Congress. He said during a Univision Town Hall in March 2011: “Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce the law, and implement those laws.”

Even The Washington Post and Saturday Night Live called him out on that flip-flop.

Not enforcing the law was a pattern with the previous president. GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz compiled a list of 76 lawless acts by Obama administration, including DACA and Fast and Furious, which resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona in 2010.

Unlike Obama, Trump is trying to enforce, not ignore, the law by securing our border.

Congress specifically authorized the building of barriers along the border in the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which incidentally Schumer and then-Sen. Obama voted for.

Trump can also point to 10 U.S.C. 284, which gives the military the green light for the “construction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”

A top DOD official testified before Congress last month that the law authorizes the Pentagon to provide support for counter-drug operations if the president requests it.

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Trump is the commander in chief, and if he wants to move some money within the DOD to help him and our country to build the walls and barriers to keep out the bad guys — like drug and human traffickers and murderers — that is what he can and should do.

For Pelosi and Schumer to say Trump doesn’t have the authority to redirect money within the DOD to secure our border and stop the flow of drugs is ridiculous. His sworn duty is to protect the American people.

Where does it stop when a president of the United States cannot move money allocated for security and drug interdiction to where, in his judgment, it is most needed.

Trump’s being a good manager, which doesn’t surprise me, given his success in the business world. Congress, including Pelosi and Schumer, should really be giving him an award for good utilization of taxpayer money, rather than threatening to sue him.

I think the Supreme Court will ultimately side with the president because, while the legislature has the power of the purse, that does not give them the authority to micromanage how the commander in chief does his job.

It’s all politics. If his name wasn’t Donald Trump, Congress would not be pursuing this issue and trying to make him look bad to the detriment of our national security.

I’m glad he’s sticking to his guns.

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