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June 2008

Arizona Gov. Cuts Immigration
Enforcement Funds

f you ever needed evidence that America's political elites want illegal immigration to continue, now you've got it.

Within days of complaints from big business and Hispanic ethnic advocacy groups about immigration law enforcement efforts in Maricopa County, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano dramatically slashed the funds available to the popular Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The move helps Arizona's big commercial operations maintain a steady flow of cheap immigrant labor and promises to help swell the membership of radical Hispanic organizations after political power.

Last month, Democrat Napolitano signed an executive order slashing $1.6 million out of the budget for a task force set up to go after human smuggling operations in the state.  The funding cut was not aimed at all of Arizona's 15 counties.  Instead, the cuts were aimed at just one county -- Maricopa and its effective Sheriff Arpaio.

Under an agreement with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), Arpaio and his deputies were trained and authorized to enforce immigration laws. During the last three years, Arpaio's special immigration enforcement unit apprehended 900 illegal aliens and set up a telephone hotline reporting immigration violations.

That put the dedicated lawman at odds with Hispanic community leaders and left-wing political activists who launched a series of asty attacks on the veteran lawman. 

In April, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who won election with help from Hispanic groups, denounced Arpaio and demanded that the federal government investigate the sheriff's office for what he called "civil rights violations." He complained that the illegals being arrested had "brown skin," and charged that was evidence that Arpaio was engaged in "racial profiling."

At the time, the U.S. Department of Justice refused to comment.

Hispanic activists staged repeated demonstrations targeting Arpaio, many of them carrying placards that read, "Proud To Be Brown." 

Hector Yturraide, president of the Hispanic immigrant group Somos America, said Arpaio's deputies unfairly gave traffic tickets to Hispanics.

"You have cooks, landscapers, nannies who are afraid to drive," he claimed.

Napolitano's executive order leaves 15 members of Arpaio's staff without funding for salaries.

Jeanine l'Ecuyer, the governor's spokeswoman, admitted to the Arizona East Valley Tribune that the funding cut was aimed at stopping Arpaio's arrests of immigrant criminals.

"It's part of the whole situation that we're looking at," she said.
At a regularly scheduled press briefing in May, Gov. Napolitano said she cuts the funds because it made illegal aliens fearful of arrest.

"To the extent that the sheriff is using state money to fund sweeps that were causing trepidation in the immigrant community, that state money will no longer be available," she told reporters.