Jorge Ramos’ Exclusive Interview With Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Kudos to Al Punto for broadcasting the Jorge Ramos exclusive interview with the controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio, who claims he is not anti-immigrant and that Latinos "love" him. The full Engish transcripts and full video in Spanish can be found below.

JR: Sheriff Arpaio, thank you so much for talking to us again.

JA: Thank you.

JR:  I understand that you're going to release your own findings about President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Do you really believe that President Barack Obama is not an American? Why are you doing this?

JA:  You know, I've had 250 Tea Party come to my office wanting me to investigate that birth certificate. I'm the elected sheriff. I decided to do it. I have my cold case posse, volunteered ex-cops, lawyers — no cost to the taxpayers — so we have been working on this and on March 1, I will release our preliminary findings.

JR: What's your suspicion? I mean, President Barack Obama released on April 2011 his long-form birth certificate. What is it that you want to find out? You don't believe that he was born in Hawaii?

JA:   I'm not going to avoid your question. On the other hand, on March 1 I will present what evidence we have. I'm really investigating the birth certificate, which — not really the President — I want to see all the facts of that birth certificate.

JR:   But what's your motivation? Why are you doing this? Is there a political purpose for this? You're doing this right before the election you know that.

JA:   Well, that has nothing to do with it. This has been going on for three months. The people have come to me, my constituents, and asked me to look into it. I don't throw it in the wastebasket, so I'm looking into it. It's very simple. Maybe I can clear the President. We don't know.

JR:     Clear the President, for what?

JA:    Well, there's been a lot of controversy about whether he's a U.S. citizen; a controversy on the birth certificate itself.

JR:   Are you questioning that the President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen? Are you really doing that?

JA:    I'm not saying that. We are looking at the birth certificate to see if it's valid and that's what our thrust is, with a few other questions we have and other matters regarding that situation.

JR:   All right, let's talk about politics and about the Republican candidates. I've been listening to them for the last few months and all of them sound like you when it comes to immigration. Do you feel vindicated?

JA: Well, I met with all of them in person in my office or on the campaign trail or by telephone. They all want my endorsement. I presume if they didn't like my fight against illegal immigration they wouldn't be asking for my endorsement. I'm not tall, dark and handsome so there must be a reason that they're asking me to support them.

JR:   What do you make of Romney's self-deportation policy. Do you think that could work?

JA:   Well, I don't know about that situation. Why wait for them to self — to leave the country? Why not enforce the laws here in the United States if they're here illegally and send them back to their country? What is this self-deportation have to do with it?

JR:  But how are you going to send back 11 million undocumented immigrants Sheriff Arpaio? That's completely unreasonable.

JA:  Well, we've done all right here. 

JR:   But not 11 million –

JA:   They said over — 100,000 –

JR:  – I mean, are you going to send them back by buses or airplanes? What's the plan?

JA:    – if every state did what I'm doing I think we wouldn't have a problem.

JR:   Are you still arresting, detaining undocumented immigrants in Arizona?

JA:  Yes, we are. We just arrested 31 more recently coming into our country illegally, arresting them. The majority we booked into our jail. We don't turn it over to ICE, and we're going to continue to raid businesses that hire illegals. The majority have false identification, so I'm not stopping doing my job.

JR:  But are you breaking the law? I mean, the Justice Department just banned you from being part of a federal partnership program that would have allowed your agents to become immigration officers, so aren't you breaking the law now by doing that?

JA: No, because we're enforcing state laws. They don't want me to enforce the federal laws. I don't have to. We're enforcing state laws.

JR: Did you say that it is political garbage not to arrest undocumented immigrants in this country?

JA: No, I said — I may have referred to the Justice Department investigation where they went public on a press conference without allowing me to know about it and accuse me of racial profiling. All I want is the facts from the Justice Department.  We're working together. I hope to get it resolved, but if not, we'll have to go to court, or they will go to court against me.

JR: But they have accused you of racial profiling, Sheriff Arpaio. They accused you of “a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos” that “reaches the highest levels of the agency.” 

JA:  – That’s their opinion.

JR: — They are accusing you and your agents of targeting Latinos simply because the way they look and because of the way they talk.

JA: That's their allegations. Why didn't they come up with the facts and prove it to me? This is what? just a 22-page report that they put out accusing me. Why don't they come up and give me the facts, the proof? That's all I ask for.

JR: Well, I mean they've been investigating this for three years and they are simply saying that what you do is unconstitutional policy; that what you're doing is not constitutional; and that basically you are targeting Latinos and immigrants because of the way they look; that you have implemented racist policies.

JA: Well, you know — well, let me ask you. You talked about politics. They've been doing it for three years. Why are they cracking down with their press conference right now? Because it's politically — it's politics. That's what this is all about.  What took them so long?  Why are they doing a –

JR:   But it's not –

JA: — big press conference now?

JR:  It's not my opinion, Sheriff Arpaio. One hundred and six people have reported being victims of racial profiling in your county, where you are.

JA: I want — I want to know who the victims are, who's making these allegations, and put the facts on the table, and we'll work with them and try to correct any measures if there are any problems. But they're not giving us the information.

JR: Now, as you know, to many Latinos, Sheriff Arpaio, you are the face of racism and discrimination. You know that.

JA:   Well, I'm a pretty nice guy, having lived in Mexico City, South America, Texas and Arizona. I've never had any problems with a Latino. They love me.

JR:  They don't.

JA: — So just because I am enforcing the state laws –

JR: They don't.  They don't, Sheriff Arpaio.

JA:  – they don't like –

JR:  You're making fun of this, but –

JA:  No, they did.

JR: — but they don't love you.

JA:  No, I'm not making fun.

JR: Yes, because you are making fun –

JA:  Well, how do you know they don't?

JR:   You are making fun of the fact –

JA:  No.  How –

JR:– do you –

JA:  – do you know? How do you know?  How do you know they don't like me?  How do you know? There may be a small group of activists.

JR:  I've seen — I've seen many polls. I've spoken to many undocumented immigrants, and they are simply telling me this: that for them you are –

JA: Well, what polls?

JR: — the worst of America –

JA: I've got my own polls. 

JR: — the face of racism and discrimination.

JA:  Okay. All right. That's what they want to say. Then I'll tell you what, I'm going to tell you I'm going to continue to enforce the laws. If they don't like what I'm doing, get the laws changed in Washington or in the State of Arizona.

JR:  Let me give you an example.

JA:  Then I won't be enforcing the laws.

JR: Let me give you an example. You keep on calling them illegals, right?

JA:  Illegal aliens.

JR:  Okay. 

JA: That's what's the official –

JR: You call them illegal aliens.

JA: — connotation.

JR: Why don’t you call illegal –

JA: That's what — that's what they are.

JR: — all the American companies that hire them, who are also breaking the law? So that's a double standard. You call them illegal.

JA:   No.

JR: You don't do the same with American citizens. Why — why do you do that?

JA: Do it — I do it all the time, that so-and-so committed an illegal act. They committed murder. I use the word "illegal" in any crime. It doesn't matter whether it's fighting the drug or illegal immigration problem. 

JR: Are you for a fence? Do you think there should be a fence between Mexico and the United States?

JA: That's a good question. Of course, they can buy ladders to hop over it. What I want to do, I'm getting tired of politicians saying we must secure the border and then they say, “First, we'll do it first and then we'll look at the illegal immigration problem.”

JR:  So you think it's a good idea, again, to build a fence?

JA:  Well, I'll go for the fence on one condition, and that is when they hop the fence with their ladder that they go directly to jail. That's it. Don't send them back so they can get, you know, a fence that's higher. If they hop the fence, I want them to do time in jail, and then I will be for the fence.

JR:  And let me just finish with this. We've spoken twice, and I still can't understand why you keep on talking to us. Are you — why are you doing this? As you know, many people in the Hispanic community, many immigrants simply hate you.Why do you insist on talking to us?

JA: Well, I don’t –

JR: What's your agenda? What do you want to achieve by talking to us? I really appreciate it as a journalist, but why are you doing it?

JA: Because — because you called me. I didn't call you, and you are a fair, well-known reporter, well respected. So why — what do you think, I'm afraid to talk to you? I'm not afraid to talk to you or anybody else. I talk to everybody. I'm an equal opportunity guy. I don't back down for the media or anybody else.

JR: Sheriff Arpaio, thank you so much for talking to us, really.

JA:  Thank you.

TRANSCRIPT CREDIT: Univision

Rep. Gutiérrez: There Is a “Very High Moral Cost” in Alabama

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez Opening Statement as Prepared for Delivery from November 17, 2011

Photo © USATODAY

As you know, a group of nine Members of Congress is traveling to Birmingham, Alabama for a series of events on Monday. We will hold an Ad Hoc hearing at 3 p.m. in the chambers of the Birmingham City Council to hear from residents. 

While some of the details are still coming together, we will have a range of people offer their testimony: local elected leaders and law-enforcement, families, educators, farmers, and small business owners and the like. We want a range of people who fit into categories including those who were the intended targets of Alabama's law, but we also want to hear from and those who have proven to be targets, perhaps unintentionally, as the law has begun to be implemented.

After the hearing we will meet with leaders of the immigrant advocacy and civil rights community in Birmingham and across the state at a private meeting at the Civil Rights Institute. Then we will walk across the street to the historic 16th Street Baptist Church — the church where four little girls were killed by an assassin's bomb — and at 7 p.m. there will be a huge rally that marks the kick off of the "One Alabama" statewide campaign to repeal the law. I was in Alabama in October and I came back to Washington and said to my colleagues, "you have got to go and see for yourself."

In other states we have seen anti-immigration bills pass, but in Alabama it has triggered something unique. The fear and chaos in a small, not very well established Latino and immigrant community has run deeper. The feeling of danger and despair is palpable, perhaps owing to Alabama's history of dogs and water cannons and bombings and worse. But that same history also gave me a great deal of hope.

All across the state I met people at rallies, at the NAACP state convention, at the Spanish language radio station, and I got a sense that the history of fighting for justice and fighting for basic rights is still alive in Alabama. Indeed, a lot of what we know about social movements, about social change and fighting for justice, we learned from the people of Alabama less than a generation ago.

We are seeing what happens when Congress is prevented from passing immigration reform for a decade or two decades. We see the reaction on the ground to an immigration system that is a quarter century out of date. Ironically, the Republican Party in Alabama that pushed this law through is the same Republican Party that has actively blocked immigration reform in Washington. And those few Republicans with whom I and Senator Kennedy and others worked with across the aisle have all drifted away from the negotiating table.

In particular, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, in his role on the Judiciary Committee, has played a substantial role in obstructing immigration reform along with a handful of Southern Republican Senators. In order to get control of immigration, we need to strengthen legal immigration and make sure enforcement is both firm and fair. In order to get control over immigration we have to get immigrants who live and work here into the system and on-the-books because we simply will not deport of drive out 10 million people who have deep roots, family, property, and lives here.

But Republicans, often led by Senator Sessions of Alabama, have prevented us from moving from the current chaos and blackmarket to a modern, efficient and legal immigration system because they think immigration is a good political football. Perhaps more so than anyone going on this trip, I have been critical of the President because of the one million people he has deported, but I am pleased that the Justice Department is fighting against unconstitutional laws in Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and elsewhere. We simply cannot have 50 separate immigration laws and the Constitution is clear about that.

We will hold President Obama and Secretary Napolitano accountable for sticking to the federal policies they laid out that put a priority on deporting criminals so we can get bad people out of our communities. That means standing up to and not cooperating with the state policies that create broad roundups based on appearance or make it a crime to work or take your children to the library.

Anti-immigration laws at the state and local level come with tremendous costs… — in terms of the slowed economy, businesses that fail and millions of tax dollars paid to lawyers to defend against lawsuits. — in political terms, these laws have changed the way America thinks about Arizona and Alabama and whether they are modern states or backward-looking ones. — and at the local level — from family to family, business to business, and town to town, the divisiveness of playing politics with such an important issue carries a huge cost to the very fabric of a community.

There is a very high moral cost. I am going to Alabama to stand with the good, decent people of Alabama to fight back and defend what I think is right and just.

Ten Members of Congress Join Rep. Gutiérrez on November 21 Visit to Alabama

Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, an Illinois Democrat, is leading a congressional delegation on a November 21 visit to Alabama, the latest state of the Union to have imposed harsh and draconian immigration laws, with the summer passage of state law HB 56.

According to Gutiérrez's office, Gutiérrez will be joined by the following members of Congress: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Terri A. Sewell of Alabama, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Charlie Gonzalez of Texas, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Secretary of the Congressional Black Caucus Yvette D. Clarke of New York; Rep. Al Green of Texas; Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California; Rep. Joe Baca of California, Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, and Rep. Grace Napolitano of California.

A preliminary schedule of the November 21 Alabama visit was released by Gutiérrez's office:

ALABAMA CONGRESSIONAL VISIT – NOV. 21

Preliminary Schedule for November 21, 2011, all events are in Birmingham and all times local (CT):

2:00p.m.       
                  

 

Press Conference for Members of the Congressional Delegation
Location: Birmingham City Council Chambers - Birmingham City Hall, 710 20th Street North

3:00-5:00p.m. 

 

Ad Hoc Hearing: The impact of HB56 on families, businesses, agriculture, law enforcement and civil society.                        
Location: Birmingham City Council Chambers

7:00p.m.       

 

Members of the Congressional Delegation will participate in the launch of the "One Family One Alabama Campaign to Repeal HB56"
Hosted by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ)
Location: Historic 16th Street Baptist Church (1530 Sixth Ave. North)