Newly sworn-in Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Paul Penzone, in a January 4 interview with Phoenix TV station ABC 15, referred to illegal aliens as “guests.”
Penzone (shown), who assumed office on January 1 after defeating six-term Sheriff Joe Arpaio in November, said during the interview:
We will need to work with the guests who are here in our nation and are pursuing citizenship and separate that from those who are committing crimes and make sure that we a caring community that is serious about public safety.
While it may not be immediately apparent from this quote that Penzone was referring to illegal aliens when he spoke about “guests,” the ABC 15 reporter who interviewed the new sheriff noted that for “24 years, sheriff Joe Arpaio made no bones about it: illegal is illegal. The new sheriff uses different terms for undocumented immigrants. He calls them ‘guests.’ ”
“Undocumented immigrants” is the popular euphemism for illegal aliens among those who wish to ignore the fact that illegal immigration is a crime.
In a statement quoted by both the AP and the Arizona Republic, Penzone described what he regards as his first order of business: “The top priority is addressing the issue of the federal monitors and meeting those objectives and those outcomes,” he said. “We have to do that. We can’t move forward until we’ve gotten on the same page, so I look forward to working with the ACLU. I look forward to working with the DOJ on the monitors and getting everybody on the same page so this community can be in a better place.”
The monitors to which Penzone referred were assigned after a federal judge ruled that the sheriff’s department had racially profiled Latinos during traffic operations.
A news release posted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs on August 13, 2015 stated that the U.S. District Court of the District of Arizona had granted a motion by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to intervene in a private lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio, brought against Sheriff Arpaio.
In Melendres, the federal court found in May 2013 the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) had engaged in “unlawful discrimination” against Hispanic persons in its traffic enforcement operations in violation of the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“As a party in the Melendres case, the Department of Justice can now work together with the court, the plaintiffs and the independent monitor to ensure that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office meaningfully implements the court-ordered reforms so that the constitutional rights of all people of Maricopa County are protected,” the release quoted Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark Kappelhoff of the Civil Rights Division as saying.
The appointment of federally ordered monitors represented what has become a common practice in recent years, as federal authorities intervene more and more into matters that were never designated as areas of federal responsibility in the Constitution and which should, therefore, be left to the states.
Penzone’s second priority, he said in an interview with the Arizona Republic, will be improving morale among employees. Penzone said he’s been getting acquainted with the staff ever since his decisive win in November.
“We’ll be working on getting them to feel good about where they are, what they’re doing,” he said. “There hasn’t been a change in 24 years, so it’s a big change for everyone.”
Penzone’s predecessor, Arpaio, had developed a well-deserved reputation during his 23 years in office for his no-nonsense conservative practices. As a result, he became controversial much of the time, often because of his tough stance on illegal immigration. He began focusing on many law enforcement-related issues associated with illegal immigrants in 2005. After that, his office ran a large number of operations investigating and raiding businesses in Maricopa County that employed illegal aliens, and arrested many of them. He had an excellent success rate in nearly 60 raids, with 100 percent of the people arrested for using stolen identity cards being proven to be illegal immigrants.
Penzone, who had served on the Phoenix Police Department for 21 years, made his first bid for elected office in his unsuccessful campaign for Maricopa County sheriff in 2012 against Arpaio.
In 2016, Penzone ran again against Arpaio, who by then had been in office for 24 years. This time Penzone defeated Arpaio by 665,478 votes (55.6 percent) to Arpaio’s 531,674 votes (44.4 percent).
Though several factors might be named as contributing to Penzone’s defeat of Arpaio, including fallout among Hispanic voters due to the charges that the sheriff’s department had racially profiled Latinos during traffic stops (always a subjective accusation) made in the Melendres case, perhaps the biggest factor of all was millions of dollars spent by a PAC to attack the sheriff and support Penzone. A report in The New American last November noted that the PAC — Maricopa Stong — had already spent $2.9 million on negative mailers and television ads, claiming that “Arpaio talks tough, but he doesn’t keep us safe,” because he ignores crime while he “focuses on his personal agenda.”
As the article pointed out, that “agenda” was to take illegals off the streets of Maricopa County before they contribute disproportionately to crime in that county.
The article reported that leftist billionaire George Soros had spent $2 million of his own money to create Maricopa Strong and pointed to another report in Politico that produced evidence that a Soros spokesman had admitted that Soros is funding the attacks on Arpaio. Politico quoted Michael Vachon, the Soros spokesman, who stated:
We made a major investment in the effort to defeat Joe Arpaio for two reasons…. First, Joe Arpaio has been a stain on the justice system in Arizona for more than two decades, violating civil rights and abusing his office. Second, his influence on the national conversation about immigration has been poisonous. This election is an opportunity to send a message: When matched on an even playing field, the values of justice and inclusion will defeat the politics of fear-mongering and intolerance.
Politico also quoted Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who in 2012 co-founded Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement, a PAC to take on Arpaio and assist Penzone in the last sheriff’s race. “The persuasion campaign that Maricopa Strong is running is critical to the effort to defeat Joe Arpaio,” said Gallego.
While Penzone does boast of a lengthy record in law enforcement, which might otherwise make him a well-qualified sheriff, the very large interest that Georges Soros (whom Human Events readers once voted as “the single most destructive leftist demagogue in the country”) has taken in knocking out Arpaio and replacing him with Penzone does not bode well for the people of Maricopa County.
Photo of Paul Penzone on election day, Nov. 8, 2016: AP Images