Sometimes I didn't understand the schizoid character of Arizona when I first moved here. This is the same state, after all, where state police were forming up lines of customers to buy legal pot in front of a Superbowl in 1996.
Nor do I understand some of the activities of our illustrious Sheriff. He is not alone in the politics he practices, for there are many other law enforcement rock stars all over the country, just like him. Perhaps they are less flamboyant. They are certainly no less shrewd or machiavellian.
The situation with illegal immigration is said to be complex by some. It's really very simple. Our federal government has failed to secure our borders from illegal immigrants. It passed the buck to local law enforcement. The cities ceded this responsibility to the county sheriffs.County sheriffs have to run for election every few years. They receive votes for doing ( or being perceived to do ) a good job.
The voters of Maricopa county re-elect Sheriff Arpaio term after term based on this perception. Illegals are an easy target because they are, by definition, a criminal community. They are not too hard to find or prosecute, like street walking prostitutes.
We can argue about racism. We can argue about nativists. I often wonder about the people who get TV time criticizing the MCSO, about their agendas. Seems to be it is just as easy to target the Sheriff as it is for the Sheriff to target illegal immigrants. Especially when it is donation time.
In my mind, all of this energy would be better spent on proposing legislation to allow these folks to get work visas. They want to work here, we want them to work here or they wouldn't be continually returning to do so. How about we all grow up and find a solution to the problem that benefits both parties? It would be much easier to keep tabs on the numbers of foreigners working here if they are doing so within the system.