MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. (CBS Houston/AP) — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he wants to know why the immigrants he turns over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement keep coming back.
“I want an explanation and investigation as to why 3,800 of the people in my jails that are charged with state and local crimes are here illegally,” Arpaio told Newsmax TV. “We turn them over to ICE and they keep coming back over and over again.”
Arpaio stated that he has sent a letter to Homeland Security demanding an answer.
“How come they’re not deported, or if they are, why do they keep coming back across the border?” Arpaio questioned.
More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained after crossing the Texas-Mexico border since October in what President Barack Obama has called a humanitarian crisis. Many of the migrants are under the impression that they will receive leniency from U.S. authorities.
Arpaio puts the blame of the crisis on the border on Obama’s shoulders.
“I predicted he’s doing this to invoke his executive order using this as a vehicle and also try to stimulate Congress to do something. That’s why he’s doing this,” Arpaio told Newsmax TV. “They do some stupid things at the White House, but I think this was calculated.”
Arpaio suggests the U.S. military work with Mexican authorities to stop illegal border crossings.
“So why can’t we just put some resources like Border Patrol or military across the border and work with their army and their law enforcement and clean the mess up?” Arpaio said.
On Monday, Obama asked Congress for more money and additional authority to deal with the surge of youths, mostly from Central America. Obama wants flexibility to speed the youths’ deportations and $2 billion to hire more immigration judges and open more detention facilities.
The number of unaccompanied immigrant children picked up along the border has been rising for three years as they fled pervasive gang violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. More recently, children and parents have said they heard children traveling alone and parents traveling with young kids would be released by authorities and allowed to continue to their destination.
Many of the children turn themselves in to the first law enforcement person they see, so Guerra said it was unusual to find a child in this more remote area — near La Joya, about 20 miles west of McAllen. Sometimes smugglers, known as coyotes, leave people behind if they can’t go on; other times a group may scatter when authorities approach.
About 445 immigrants died along the U.S.-Mexico border last year, according to the Border Patrol. The Pima County medical examiner in Arizona, which is the perennial leader in immigrant deaths, recorded 168 of the deaths; of the 70 where an age was confirmed, none were younger than 13.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)