What one Arizona county is doing about illegal immigration

Via the NYT:

PHOENIX, May 9 — To people who say round up more illegal immigrants, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County here has an answer: send out the posse.

On Wednesday, the posse, a civilian force of 300 volunteers, many of them retired deputies, are to fan out over desert backcountry, watching for smugglers and the people they guide into these parts.

Already, a small team of deputies roams the human-trafficking routes to enforce a nine-month-old state law that makes smuggling people a felony and effectively authorizes local police forces to enforce immigration law.

Not only do deputies charge the smugglers, but many of their customers have also been jailed. That has drawn criticism from several quarters, even the politician who sponsored the law and has generally supported Sheriff Arpaio’s position.

“That was not our intent,” said the sponsor, State Representative Jonathan Paton, a Republican, who added that he would prefer to detain smuggled immigrants under trespassing laws, a move lawmakers are considering under a package of bills intended to crack down on illegal immigration.

Take a border state wrestling with the effects of a surge of illegal immigrants. Add Sheriff Arpaio and his unorthodox, well-chronicled brand of law enforcement — he forces male and female inmates to wear pink underwear, among other often-questioned tactics. And watch the sparks fly.

“I have compassion for the Mexican people, but if you come here illegally you are going to jail,” said Sheriff Arpaio, an elected Republican, whose county is the fourth most populous in the country and among the fastest growing.

To avoid suggestions that deputies practice racial profiling, the sheriff has ordered them to find probable cause, usually a minor traffic infraction, before pulling over suspect vehicles.

I like this guy :)

Hat tip: ST reader Mahwah, who sent me this link last week (that’s why the date on the article is 5-9… I’m catching up on emails tonight. Better late than never!)

Thursday AM Update: More Illegals Nabbed by Sheriff’s Posse. Heh.

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