Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu apparently forgot that he quit his Congressional race, because he again spewed tired talking points from that campaign -- this time blasting President Barack Obama for granting temporary deportation immunity and work permits to certain undocumented immigrants.
Babeu seems to be upset because Obama is not strictly enforcing all immigration laws by giving law-abiding students a temporary reprieve and the right to work. And yet Babeu also elected to give law-abiding undocumented immigrants in his county a pass.
In Babeu's world, it's okay for him to call "hands off" of the illegal-immigrant population that isn't involved with violent drug cartels, but when Obama did it for a portion of the same population -- law-abiding high school graduates, college students, or members of the military -- Babeu called it "shocking."
This morning, after Obama announced his administration's temporary policy shift, Babeu hopped on the airwaves with Jim Cross on KTAR and blasted Obama's plan.
"Now we have Obama, Holder, and Napolitano that think they can just unilaterally wave their hand and change the law and policy," said Babeu, referring to the president, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
Um, yeah, it's called "prosecutorial discretion."
Babeu used his own law enforcement discretion by consciously choosing not to go after every undocumented immigrant in his county.
The real "shocking" slice of this story is that the sheriff is getting his underpants in a bunch when he himself ran all over Pinal County saying he supported "any type" of guest-worker program and made "a commitment" when he ran for sheriff that he wouldn't go after law-abiding immigrants.
Once again, Babeu is caught with his pants down (metaphorically speaking, this time).
On February 9, 2011, Babeu appeared on a KVOA, a Tucson television station, and said: "We're not going on farms. We're not going into government buildings looking for illegal immigrants or workers without proper ID. I'm going directly after the armed threat from cartels." (See it about 45 seconds in the clip.)
On February 24, 2011, Babeu also discussed his own discretion with KGUN, another Tucson television station:
"I've never, I've never gone onto farms. You know how many people would like me to do that? Quite a few. You know how many people want me to pursue, uh, employers? You know how many people want me to aggressively, um, go into other workplaces and government buildings? I've never done that. One, I don't have the resources to do that. Two, that is not my primary focus...The threat and the dangers are too great and too real when it comes to cartel activity and trafficking through my county...I barely have enough resources to bring the fight against them. And that's the most severe threat."
And during an appearance before the American Agri-Women's Annual Symposium on April 9, 2011, Babeu was adamant:
"I'm not against any type of guest-worker program! Obviously. I made a commitment when I ran for sheriff -- I don't go on farms. I don't go into government buildings. I don't do all of that! We've got enough on our hands!" (Fast-forward to 32:21 in the video below for Babeu's comments.)
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.