Trent Franks Criticizes Sheriff Arpaio's Enforcement Priorities

By Ray Stern

Republican Congressman Trent Franks didn't mince words when Joe Dana from Channel 12 (KPNX) asked him about the immigration sweeps Sheriff Joe Arpaio conducted last week in Surprise, which is part of Trent's Congressional turf.

“I think that our focus should not be upon going after people who are trying to live here peaceably,” Representative Franks said. “I guess if I were in Mexico and I wanted a better way of life for my family I would probably try to crawl across the border or swim across the Rio Grande river to. That doesn't mean that we don't have a right and responsibility to protect our border, protect our country and our immigration laws. I just believe it's all a matter of focus.”

Franks is considered by some to be among the most conservative in Congress. His immigration ideas, judging from this mailer, hardly qualify as soft.

Yet here he is espousing the same law enforcement tactics we've heard from Arpaio critics like Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Mesa Police Chief George Gascon: Go after the worst criminals first, not the "average" illegal immigrants who comprise an estimated 10 percent or so of the Valley's population.

Franks also emphasizes a more humane approach, according to Dana's story, because he's "saddened by stories of immigrant families broken up in the sweeps."

In other words, he seems to be telling Arpaio to have a heart -- and a brain -- when it comes to illegal immigration enforcement.

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