Yuma County, Arizona Sheriff Leon Wilmot is tired of his county’s taxpayers paying to recapture illegal immigrants because of the federal government’s refusal to enforce the law.
“If you are not going to do your job and we have to do it for you, you should be paying us,” Wilmot tells KYMA.
Wilmot says his department has arrested illegal immigrants for drug smuggling and identity theft, but the U.S. District Attorney “fails to prosecute them.” The sheriff says the feds’ inaction is costing Yuma County taxpayers about a million dollars a year.
The Sheriff’s Office has made more than 150 arrests since last October, and 13 illegals in the last week alone for fake passports.
Wilmot says it has cost about $950,000 over the last year to house illegals in the county jail. That amount has increased to $980,000 and so far, there’s no word from the District Attorney about whether the feds will help cover the cost.
“They think it’s better served by the local authorities. Our point on that is you’re costing us an arm and a leg to do your job,” says Capt. Eben Bratcher, according to The Republic.
Illegal immigration prosecutions in Arizona were down 15% between July 2014 and July 2015, according to data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
To Bratcher, that means more drug smugglers and immigrants who use false identification are getting off the hook too easily.
“We don’t believe that letting these people go is doing anything to protect our border,” he says.
Bratcher says local authorities have been charging illegals for crimes based on state statutes. “He gave the example of a man who was caught transporting 30 pounds of methamphetamine at a border crossing but whom federal prosecutors declined to pursue,” according to the paper.
Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, says fewer arrests and less resources “could contribute to the decline in prosecutions.”