AZ sheriffs to Obama: Plug the damn hole

Barack Obama saw the need to declare a blanket moratorium on offshore drilling after the Deepwater Horizon blowout, responding with full force — many would argue far too much force — in an obvious emergency.  Why then, wonder two Arizona sheriffs, won’t Obama respond with the same force and alacrity in what is undeniably a federal issue?  Instead of suing Arizona, write Larry Dever and Paul Babeu, Obama should send more resources to stop the flood of illegals across the border:

As the oil gushed out of the broken pipe in the bottom of the gulf, the public was outraged and all hands were on deck to “plug the hole.” Why is it, then, that a similar flood, with national security implications, is met with such inaction by the federal government?

The breached safeguard in this case is the country’s southern border, and law enforcement officers, like the Arizona sheriffs, work tirelessly to secure it from criminal activity, including illegally entering the country.

Half of all illegal immigrants come through our southern international border, and many of those through Arizona. The porous border has drained our resources and harmed our citizens. Every day Arizona sheriffs and deputies fight against the destruction and crime that result from illegal border crossings, but we have received harsh words of criticism and little help from the federal government in response. Instead of supporting our efforts to enforce the laws that they don’t, our own Justice Department sued us.

The White House claims to have gotten tougher than any previous administration on border security, which is something akin to the Washington Generals claiming to field their toughest team in years to play against the Harlem Globetrotters.  The two sheriffs scoff at the notion that the federal government has supplied anything more than lip service and lawyers:

The administration claims to have stepped up efforts to combat illegal immigration, but the problem has grown so immense that it cannot be tackled without the help of state and local law enforcement. And yet, the administration haughtily declines our help, and instead dispatches lawyers from Washington to launch a legal assault. Arizona sheriffs are spending time trying to do the little we can at the border, but now we’re forced into depositions and court hearings to fight our own government.

Congress understood in 1996 that the US needed its local and state law enforcement agencies to take the lead in enforcing immigration law.  They passed a law known as 287g that allows ICE to certify agencies as partners in enforcing federal law.  Instead of broadening this reach, the Obama administration acted to restrict it, especially in Arizona when it decertified Maricopa County in a political spat with Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Now that they have taken Arizona to court to stop immigration enforcement, Dever and Babeu argue that it’s time for the federal government to “put up or shut up.”  Either start sending large amounts of resources to fight the problem, or get the lawyers out of the way so that Arizona can plug the damn hole for them.