Sheriff Takes Immigration Issues into His Own Hands

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PHOENIX - The new immigration law in Arizona gives state and local officers more power to arrest illegal immigrants.

However, a man known in the state as "Sheriff Joe" has already been doing that.

Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joseph Arpaio told CBN News that in three years, 38,000 people have been investigated, arrested, and detained in his county jail.

The Department of Justice has been after him for a more than a year for his hard-line stance on illegal immigration, accusing him of racial profiling. So far, however, there's been no disciplinary action.

"We got the economy, we got wars and they target me because I'm out here arresting illegal aliens?" he wondered. "That's a shame."

Sheriff Joe said he is also disappointed in the crime connected to illegal immigration.

"They don't want to show that most of the violence has to do with the human smuggling... because they just don't want to do it. The media, the politician, and that's a shame," he said. "Why don't we call it like it is?"

Arpaio said there's only one part of Arizona's new immigration law that he likes.

"The only little difference it makes, and that's if we come across an illegal that now we can arrest them and not turn them over to ICE if we have no other crime," he explained.

ICE stands for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

When cases are submitted to his office, interim Maricopa County attorney Rick Romley requires law enforcement agencies to submit certification from ICE proving a person is in the U.S. Illegally. The same will be required for prosecution under the new law.

However, Arpaio doesn't agree with the rules Romley has put in place.

"Here we have an interim county attorney changing the rules in a very subtle way, and I'm not happy about that," he said.

Romley also plans to crack down on the organized crime aspect of illegal immigration, like drug cartels.

"I'm getting tougher," he said. "But, I'm focusing my toughness upon those who are committing crimes within this particular community."

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.