Border Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County Arizona has a message for Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who claims the U.S. – Mexico border is safer than ever – “that is an outright laugh!”
Last month, Janet Napolitano told an audience in El Paso, Texas that the security on the southern boarder “is better now than it ever has been” and that Mexican violence has not had a serious effect on neighboring towns.
According to Babeu, who had to reschedule his initial interview with The Daily Caller because of a shootout (with members of a drug cartel, fifty of whom were smuggling drugs in backpacks) and was on his way to visit a deputy injured by an illegal alien during the interview, violence in his county has increased dramatically, just in the last few years largely due to the drug cartels’ growing sophistication.
“These are foreign-born criminals that are here in our country,” Babeu said, “That’s what we’re finding is going on here, and not only is it unacceptable, it has created a situation where now, there are as few as 75, as many as 100 lookout posts from drug cartels just for this one smuggling corner- drug cartels hold high positions on terrain features or mountains to provide safe passage for their drug cartels. That a cartel from Mexico can have this mature an organization in our country is outrageous.”
Cartels derive much of their power by violence and instilling fear into the law enforcement officials. Indeed, Babeu and his team of deputies have had numerous threats on their lives. Babeu says he never is unarmed.
“They kill police chiefs, they kill judges, they kill journalists, and mayors of small communities. That violence clearly is coming to America,” he said. “ We’ve had people that have been kidnapped, people that have been murdered, largely illegals. We’ve had, in Chandler, Arizona, a beheading that is now confirmed…. So the violence isn’t coming here, the violence is here. It’s not going to get better; it’s going to get worse until we secure this border..”
Babeu said the best way to make the border safe is for the federal government to enforce the laws already on the books and allow him to do his job.
“Instead of helping us, they have actively fought us, taken us to court, insulted American citizens by putting up warning and danger signs due to drug and human smuggling and armed gunman and all of these kind of crazy things,” he said. “I’m finding that I have to do the job the Feds won’t do, and who would ever imagine that we would arrive at the point where it’s the job of the local Sheriff to fight foreign criminal drug cartels. It’s outrageous.”
Pinal’s sheriff supports Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl’s 10 point border security plan, which includes deploying troops to the border, adding more Boarder Patrol agents, constructing a double-layer fence, and increasing the number of check points.
Babeu stresses that he has nothing against the Mexican people, it is the violence that the cartels have brought with them that he wants to stop.
“[Mexican President Felipe] Calderon and the leaders of Mexico are not our enemy, the citizens, the people of Mexico are not our enemies, the drug cartels are the enemy of Mexico and the enemy of the United States,” Babeu said. “They’ve created such a situation that they’ve destabilized Mexico and have nearly toppled the Mexican government, further creating an insecure border which leaves us vulnerable.”
In January the National Sheriff’s Association named Babeu “Sheriff of the Year.” Some have encouraged Babeu to run for Congress when Republican Rep. Jeff Flake runs for Senate and while he has not eliminated it as an option, Babeu told TheDC that what is most important right now is keeping his county safe.