How dare the Maricopa County (Ariz.) sheriff! So said Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders ripped at a rally in that state last Thursday.
“It’s easy for bullies like Sheriff Arpaio to pick on people who have no power,” Sanders is quoted as saying by USA Today. “If I am elected president — the president of the United States does have power. So watch out, Joe.” The comment was met with thunderous applause and cheers from the 900 Sanders supporters crammed into the ballroom at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort near Flagstaff.
So, which powerless group was Sanders referring to?
Try illegal immigrants.
He was in essence condemning “Sheriff Joe” for doing his job, which includes rounding up those who sneak across the border from Mexico and points south.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, 47% of illegal border crossers enter the U.S. via Mexico’s border with Arizona. In the state’s public school system, more than 121,000 students — 11% of the enrollment — have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant, according to the Pew Research Center. The tax burden for these extra warm bodies in the classroom is passed along to legal residents.
What makes Sanders’s bluster on Thursday even more curious is that his tough stance against immigration enforcement appears to have grown out of political expediency. As the USA Today piece notes, the Vermont socialist was recently criticized by the Clinton campaign for voting in 2006 for an amendment that would expand lengthy detentions of some illegals.
If Sanders does somehow prevail at the polls, winning not only his party’s nomination but the big prize in November, he will be required to take an oath of office that includes a pledge to uphold the nation’s laws. He hasn’t yet explained how he plans to reconcile that promise with his current one to aid and abet 11 million lawbreakers.