Outspoken Joe Arpaio - sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona - appeared on CNN on December 20 and was interviewed by political activist Al Sharpton.  When asked by Sharpton whether GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's views reflect the mainstream of the Republican party, Arpaio said "He opened the door, five months ago, for illegal immigration. You do know that everybody else wanted to keep this quiet. But since he brought it up, all the other candidates are talking about it. Regardless of what the final results are, at least he opened the door. Maybe Congress will finally do something now, where the next president will do something, when all they do is talk." Elected to the sheriff's office in Maricopa County, Arizona, since 2000, Arpaio was a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and served in Argentina, Mexico, and Turkey before heading the bureau's office in Arizona.
 
When Sharpton pressed him about whether his views on immigration have now become the Republican "mainstream," Arpaio referred to his experience in law enforcement for giving him insight into illegal border crossing. After telling Sharpton that his office has cooperated with Federal immigration officials in the past, he said he would not take credit for the increased attention to the problem. However, he repeated that "people are talking about it now." Border security is even more important now, suggested Arapio, because of the increasing threat of domestic terrorism.
 
Arpaio was widely criticized over the doubts he has expressed publicly about President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Sharpton referred to this as "birther conspiracy research" that complimented efforts that Donald Trump was doing. Sharpton asked "Do you really believe that the president of the United States wasn't born in Hawaii?"
The pithy Arizona law man answered, "I don't care where he was born. I said from day one. I said it's a fraudulent government document...It's a fake document. If you had a fake document, you'd be in jail tomorrow."
 
When challenged by Sharpton, Arpaio said "We've established it, but no one wants to look at it. They avoid it."
 
Arpaio introduced Trump at a December 17 rally in Arizona, where he reminded listeners that the two of them had questioned the validity of Obama's birth documentation. Said Arpaio: "We have something in common—the birth certificate investigation, which is still going on; illegal immigration. And one more thing we share: birthday."
 
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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