ARLINGTON — Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio came to Arlington to talk about more than simply sending troops to the border.
Instead, Arpaio, 86, said the U.S. Army should be sent to Mexico’s southern border to stem the flow of Central American immigrants into that country during a talk Monday evening at Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Arlington.
Two previous Arlington locations canceled his appearance before mayoral candidate Ashton Stauffer brought the event to Jambo’s.
“Why don’t we send the U.S. Army — not at the border — but into Mexico?” Arpaio said.
The former sheriff said it wouldn’t be as an invading force but part of a bilateral effort with Mexico.
With both Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles being ousted, Arpaio backed President Donald Trump’s decision.
“He’s the chief executive,” Arpaio said. “He’s the commander in chief.”
Arpaio received a pardon from Trump after being found guilty of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order regarding detaining individuals he suspected of entering the country illegally. He was sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona from 1993 to 2017.
Earlier this year, Arpaio asked the Supreme Court to block the appointment of a special prosecutor in an ongoing legal fight over the scope of the pardon.
Stauffer, a restaurateur who owns the Jambo’s in Pantego, is running for mayor against incumbent Jeff Williams as well as former Democratic congressional candidate Ruby Faye Woolridge and substitute teacher Chris Dobson.
All three other opponents have criticized Stauffer’s statements on immigration during meetings with the Star-Telegram’s editorial board.
“My top priority is bringing people together,” Williams said.
Dobson, meanwhile, said defending the rights of immigrants is vitally important.
“I’ve taken into account as much as possible the defense of immigrants, the defense of Muslims or any other vulnerable population criticized as the cause of our problems,” Dobson said.
Woolridge said the recent term limits election brought together both conservatives and liberals.
“That’s the type of thing we need to be focusing on — not dividing an immigrant from a citizen or whatever,” Woolridge said.
Stauffer has claimed Arlington is a “defacto sanctuary city” — something Williams has said is untrue — and needs to take a tougher stance on immigration.
“This is not about race or ethnicity,” Stauffer said. “This is about immigration status.”
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