Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he may be taking heat for breaking up families and going on illegal-immigrant hunts, but when he gets the chance, he'll still save the lives of illegal immigrants.
The sheriff's office says it got a hot tip on Saturday about six illegal immigrants, abandoned by their smuggler without food or water, wandering around the desert near Gila Bend.
According to the MCSO, deputies spotted the six people from a helicopter, and they called in the ground units to go "rescue" them.
The six people told deputies they had been walking through the desert for seven days, and were without food or water for the last two days, according to the sheriff's office.
All six were successfully transported to U.S. Border Patrol custody.
Arpaio -- America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" and now self-proclaimed lifesaver -- is now taking credit for "sav[ing] the lives" of the six people in the desert.
"I am constantly criticized for breaking up families and arresting illegals, but when I can save the lives of illegal aliens I do that too" Arpaio says in a press release.
This is now the second time in a week Arpaio's sent out a press release to deflect being "criticized" about his particular methods of law enforcement, since claiming last week that his deputies found someone who treats children worse than he does.
On that occasion, deputies pulled over a couple vehicles full o' illegal immigrants last night and found two kiddos in there -- a brother and sister, ages 5 and 6.
The sheriff's office said the parents didn't come with the youngsters to the U.S., the kids didn't know which state they were being taken to, and they didn't know any of the 20 other people they were with.
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"How ironic that only last week I was publicly criticized for how I treat children who are here in this country illegally," Arpaio said. "Will there be any public outrage about how these parents treated these particular children? I doubt it."
While Arpaio may have doubted there would be any "public outrage" over the kiddos found in the van, just over 19 percent of New Times readers said they were indeed outraged in our highly unscientific poll.
About 57 percent said they were more outraged over how Arpaio treats youngsters, while more than 23 percent expressed no outrage.