A Brave New World: President Names Arizona’s Sheriff Arpaio to Head Homeland Security, Plans Mass Deportation Program

Photo via Flickr: Gage Skidmore

Washington, February 16, 2012—President Perry announced today that controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio will head the Department of Homeland Security in his new Administration.  “Sheriff Joe is one of the finest law enforcement officers in the nation,” the President said, “and will put real teeth into my new Illegal Immigrant Deportation Program.”

Perry tapped Arpaio for his advice on immigration enforcement beginning with a phone conversation early on in his campaign. The President noted that he “had always admired Sheriff Joe’s tough enforcement practices and his mass jailing of illegals.”   The Sheriff’s practices were the subject of a US Department of Justice lawsuit in 2010, focusing on alleged national origin discrimination for his treatment of immigrants.

“Secretary Arpaio will join a stellar team of immigrant enforcement professionals, including Attorney General Kris Kobach, to carry out my commitment to rid the nation of illegals within nine months,” Perry said.  “This afternoon I will convene this team to map out plans for my Administration’s Illegal Alien Deportation Program, which will open up millions of new jobs for American citizens.”

The White House indicated that Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama and former Congressman Steve King of Iowa will assist in implementing the Deportation Program.  Congressman Brooks has been at the forefront of the deportation strategy.  King was well-known for his opposition to immigrants prior to his defeat last November.

“I want to make perfectly clear today that if you are in this country illegally you have exactly sixty days to leave before we come after you,” the President declared.  “On April 16 I will launch the most extensive law enforcement sweep the nation has ever witnessed.  No matter where you work or live we will find you and we will deport you and your families. Every arm of the federal government will be mobilized for the mass deportation, including the Department of Defense.  We will not hold you in detention centers.  You will be arrested and put on a bus, train, or plane, and within two days you will be out of our country.  And you will not come back”

The Deportation Program follows the President’s mobilization of 200,000 troops last week to guard the US-Mexico border and prevent immigrants from crossing into the US. The Defense Department announced that it has quadrupled the number of unmanned drones patrolling the border, and that those drones will now be armed.

“I promised the American people that I would create new jobs and that I would address the immigration crisis head-on,” the President said.  “The Illegal Alien Deportation Program will help fulfill both those promises, as Representative Brooks suggested so boldly back in 2011.”

A similar deportation program in the 1930s “repatriated” hundreds of thousands of immigrants and US citizens of Mexican descent to Mexico in one of many sordid chapters in US history.

A representative of the nation’s largest immigrant rights organization, who was not authorized to speak on record, said Perry’s selection of Arpaio, just weeks after he named Attorney General Kobach, was “devastating.”  “The Democratic Party, immigrant, and civil rights organizations, labor, independents—no one expected Perry to become President.  And we never expected him to be this brutal.  We have a lot of work to do to stop him and this shocking Deportation Program.”