Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Law Enforcement and Political Activism

Article first published as Law Enforcement and Political Activism on Technorati.

It's good to have heroes.  People whom you can look up to and pattern yourself after as you move through life.  It's fairly obvious that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has a hero in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and possibly Rush Limbaugh.

In the latest episode of "Babeu on Immigration" we find the Pinal county Sheriff bemoaning what he calls "Roadside amnesty"

The Pinal County Sheriff had this to say to local news outlets today.
"Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices upholding the main portion of Arizona's SB1070 law, President Obama and Janet Napolitano, with a wave of their hands, have made what was illegal one day, legal the next. They can't pass their dream act, so they change enforcement policies, which undermines the rule of law,"

He goes on to cite an alleged incident involving a 17 year old stopped for exceeding the speed limit by 50MPH.  Apparently the teen had no driver's license or other identification because he was an undocumented immigrant. 
The Sheriff contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but found no interest in the teen since he had been in the country for most of his life.   ICE does not consider this type of "illegal immigrant"  a priority focusing instead on recent and repeat border crossers, those over 30 years of age and felony offenders.

Babeu holds President Obama and DHS Head Napolitano to blame for having to release the young offender to his mother's custody with a citation instead of turning him over to ICE for deportation. 
Babeu cites the revoking of the 287G agreements between DHS and local law enforcement as the root cause. 

The 287G agreements allowed local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law and hold offenders in custody.  With the SB1070 supreme court decision, DHS terminated the agreements which in Babeu's view allows "illegal immigrants" like the aforementioned teen to go free.

Babeu continues...

"The President fails to understand the...impact created by his decision to not enforce immigration laws..........What other laws will the President wave and not enforce?"

Conservative pundits often cite the reason that Gitmo detainees could not be brought to U.S. soil is because they may gain the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens such as a right to jury trial and counsel.  Which begs the question, exactly what laws isn't Sheriff Babeu able to enforce?  The laws that exist or the laws that he'd like to exist?

The teen in question was arrested in Sheriff Babeu's county which at last check was well within the confines of the United States.  It's likely that along with the criminal speeding offense, a laundry list of other charges await the teen unless he happens to have a parent who belongs to the Mexican consulate.  He was arrested while traveling to work so that's unlikely.
Law enforcement's primary responsibility is to enforce existing laws, regardless of political bias or opinion.

While the prospect of activists judges is frightening, activist law enforcement is even more so.  Like Arpaio it appears Babeu has no qualm with using his position as a political platform.  In some cases, tragically as in his recent misinterpretation of a murder/suicide as a drug cartel assassination.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa county Arizona has done a stellar job of self promotion for the past 3 decades and it appears Pinal county's Sheriff is looking to get in on the act.  Nothing garners more press attention than a public persona emphasizing political extremes that border on a circus sideshow. 

It's likely you don't know the names or political positions of Arizona's other 13 county sheriffs, perhaps that's the way it should be.