By Griselda Nevarez, VOXXI
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told Arizona delegates at a luncheon Thursday that he’s confident Mitt Romney would work with Arizona to increase border enforcement — something he said President Barack Obama has failed to do.
“Something has to be done, and I’m very well convinced that Mitt Romney, when he gets to the White House, will look at the problem,” he said. “I fully believe that he’s not just talking. I’m convinced that in the first year at the White House, he will bring this issue up.”
Gov. Jan Brewer was also present but did not speak at the luncheon that took place at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. At least five protesters attempted to make their way into the event, which was in connection to the Republican National Convention, but were asked to leave.
The Sheriff , Brewer and other Republicans from Arizona have long criticized Obama, saying the president has failed to secure the United States-Mexico border. Their criticism comes even after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has repeatedly said that the border has never been more secure.
Though Arpaio endorsed Rick Perry for president over Romney, the Sheriff said he still supports Romney’s stance on immigration, saying it is in line with his. They both favor ramping up enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border, implementing an employment verification system and they are both against in-state tuition for undocumented youth.
Earlier this week, the Sheriff was criticized by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who said it was “an embarrassment” that more than 400 sex crimes were not investigated by Arpaio’s office. News about the sex crimes was revealed in December 2010.
Arpaio responded to the McCain’s comment Thursday saying, “He doesn’t have the whole story, so I’m not going to go with anything he says.”
The Sheriff has also taken a lot of heat for several lawsuits, including one that accuses him and his office of racially profiling Latinos during traffic stops. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice filed a similar lawsuit and included other claims, such as discrimination against Latinos in the jail system.
When asked whether his enforcement will hurt Romney among Latino voters, the Sheriff said, “You can’t make everybody happy.”
“You have to do what feels right and conform with the laws,” he said. “Sometimes people don’t like what you’re doing but you can’t make everybody happy.”
Lou Ann Preble, an alternate delegate from Arizona, said she likes what Arpaio had done to go after the state’s undocumented immigrants.
“He’s doing what his constituents hired him to do,” she said. “They elected him, and if they didn’t like him, they wouldn’t keep on reelecting him.”