To Give this letter some context, Sheriff Paul Babeu has in the past said that Sinaloa cartel operatives are operating in Arizona, and more recently, claimed that armed conflict with the cartels is inevitable. Several mayors in Arizona disagreed with this statement and Fox News reports:
"In the February 9, letter, first obtained by the Arizona Daily Star, mayors Arturo Garino of Nogales, Michael Gomez, of Douglas, and Juan Escamilla, of San Luis, the mayors warn that Babeu's comments are hurting business in their cities.
They ask Babeu to "not cultivate a culture of fear" in the Grand Canyon State that "may keep national media coming to Arizona" but, in reality, is hurting the economies of border cities"
Excerpt from that letter:
"As Mayors of border communities from Arizona, we would appreciate it if you would not cultivate a culture of fear in our state and to start being accurate about border security. While your misstatements about efforts to keep communities along the U.S.-Mexico border may keep national media coming to Arizona, at the same time your consistent inaccuracies hurt cities and towns like ours by causing those who live and travel to the border to fear for their safety when in our communities.
This damages our economy - driving visitors away and leaving our businesses and residents to suffer. The facts show that violent crime is down or remains flat in our border region as we are sure it is in your area as well. In 2002 it peaked at 742 per 100,000 residents but has since drastically dropped to 219 per 100,000 in 2009 (per the F.B.I. Uniform Crime Reports Program)."
So Sheriff John was unhappy about this and fired back:
Pinal County is the number one county in the United States for drug and human trafficking. Our pursuits and drug seizures tied to drug and human trafficking far exceed those of the four border counties. The threat from an unsecured border, where 241,000 illegals were apprehended last year by the border patrol and an additional 400,000 got away. Those are failing grades by anyone's score card.
Some speak of improved safety, while we have doubled the confiscation of drugs, calls to the Border Patrol and had 340 vehicle pursuits this year -- up from 286 the year before and 142 the year prior. We have a serious public safety threat in my county, due to an unsecured border with Mexico and our nation should be highly concerned about the more dangerous national security threat that is presented with OTM's and persons from countries of interest (that harbor/sponsor terrorist or speak ill of the USA).
Just this week, the US Department of Homeland Security confirmed that Pinal County has a minimum of 75-100 mountains or high terrain features that are occupied by Mexican Drug Cartels. How have we arrived at this point in America that this is acceptable to have foreign born criminals controlling safe passage in an entire region of our state?
If these Mayors were serious about dialogue with me, they would have called, or at least waited for there letter to arrive by mail at my office, prior to releasing their letter to the media. They have done the very thing they accuse me of doing. I do not represent these Mayors or their citizens, yet I do represent the nearly 400,000 citizens of my county and the overwhelming majority of Arizonans, who laugh at Secretary Napolitano's suggestion that our border is more secure than ever.
It should also be noted that Sheriff Paul Babeu has come under political fire before, his deputy was was shot in the Arizona desert after a fight with an illegal alien. John Mccain publicly asked him to tone down the immigration rhetoric ahead of the 2008 elections. He has also been accused of appearing on a local radio show in which others around him made racially charged statements. In reference to U.S. immigration policy, Sheriff Paul has also made claims that our own government is our enemy.
Thanks for the links Buela!