Confirming the weekend’s reporting, on Tuesday “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio, endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president at a diner in Amherst, New Hampshire.
“The federal government has failed on border crime and border enforcement, and no candidate for president has done more to secure the border than Governor Rick Perry,” Arpaio wrote in a statement. “I have been watching Governor Perry and Texas closely and know his border surge operations with state, local and federal law enforcement officials have helped shut down the illegal trafficking of weapons, drugs and people.”
While the federal government has failed, according to the Arizona sheriff, Perry is the guy who can right the wrongs on the border.
“I’m endorsing Rick Perry because we need a tough-on-crime president who will champion and fund full-time border security operations from Brownsville[, Texas] to San Diego,” he said. “Governor Perry has a superior border security record and plan to make our border and our nation safer.”
Arpaio is well known for his aggressive opposition to illegal immigration and unwavering law and order policies. According to ABC News, the sheriff will be campaigning Tuesday and Wednesday with the Texas governor in New Hampshire.
Perry, who says he is the one candidate with real border experience, has tripped up in the polls in recent months after a number of debate flubs. And some conservatives have also turned a skeptical eye to his immigration bona fides due to his opposition to a border fence and his championing of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, including saying that opponents of tuition for children of illegals do not “have a heart” — a sentiment he later called “inappropriate.”
In a press release, the Perry campaign outlined his work “to fill the gap left by Washington’s abject failure to secure the nation’s southern border with Mexico,” including increasing the number of troops patrolling the border, pushing for a voter identification law, outlawing “sanctuary cities” and requiring counties to track illegal immigrants in county jails.
According to the campaign, “Gov. Perry’s border security initiatives have resulted in the seizure of 6.8 million pounds of marijuana; 82,353 pounds of cocaine; 1,835 pounds of heroin; and 7,552 pounds of methamphetamine, which has an estimated value of more than $6.5 billion. In addition, officers have seized $227 million in currency and more than 3,500 illegal weapons.”
The Arpaio endorsement has been a prize sought by a number of candidates hoping to beef up their immigration credibility among conservatives. The five-term, 20-year sheriff of Maricopa County tested the waters with at least three other GOP candidates — including Rep. Michele Bachmann, former pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Gov. Mitt Romney. In 2008, he endorsed Romney over Sen. John McCain.
“Sheriff Arpaio knows the struggle border states face as Washington politicians and bureaucrats fail time and again to properly secure our nation’s southern boundary with Mexico,” said Perry. “I am honored to have Sheriff Arpaio’s support for my presidential campaign and our shared goals of fighting border crime with more personnel, border fencing and surveillance. A secure border is vital to protecting America’s national security, public safety and jobs. As president, I will secure the border within a year, putting thousands more federal boots on the ground, strategic fencing and aerial resources to fight border crime and make our states and nation safer.”