Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who considers himself one of the toughest law enforcement leaders in the nation, said Monday that efforts in Congress to secure the southern border are futile.
"You'll never secure the border," he said on Fox News. "You want to put up more fences, [they'll] sell more ladders to hop over. These guys are very, very innovative ... and I tell you, to say you're not going to enforce the illegal immigration laws in the interior and blame it on the border, that's just a copout."
Arpaio's remarks came as the Senate debated an amendment to comprehensive immigration reform legislation that was meant to appease skeptics concerned over the bill's apparent lack of focus on border security. The measure, which passed a test vote with overwhelming support, would require 20,000 additional border patrol agents to be hired and placed, 700 miles of double-layered fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border and more surveillance technology.
Arpaio went on to say that the problem with immigration in the country was that lawmakers don't "want to lock up illegal immigrants in the country already," and instead preferred to "give them amnesty."
President Barack Obama is currently on pace to deport more than 2 million people by 2014, more than the total number of deportations recorded before 1997. In the 2012 fiscal year alone, the Obama administration set a record with more than 400,000 removals.
The sheriff has long championed a more aggressive system of immigration enforcement, backing controversial measures such as Arizona's SB 1070. Last month, a federal judge ruled that Arpaio had violated the constitutional rights of Latino drivers by implementing a policy of racial profiling in his crackdown on illegal immigration.
Arpaio told Fox News on Monday that if lawmakers were "really serious" about securing the border, they'd send forces into Mexico to help them secure their side.
"I would use the Mexican army, the federal police, work together and get it done," he said. "We should send the border patrol or some military over there to help the president in Mexico to work together and get the job done."