Badlands at the Border

POLIZETTE — Of the 8,600 prisoners that Arizona’s Maricopa County turned over to federal authorities for deportation over the last 18 months, more than 3,000 quickly returned to jail on new criminal charges.

It is the kind of statistic that drives legendary Sheriff Joe Arpaio crazy.

“One guy came back 20 times, 16 times,” he told LifeZette. “So why is it that we turn these people over and they keep coming back to the same jails with other crimes? That’s my big question, and I can’t get an answer from Homeland Security or ICE. And I think that’s very informative, where I have the proof … My gut feeling is they’re letting them out on the streets.”

Arpaio said it is one of the main reasons that Donald Trump is resonating in Arizona, where voters are casting primary ballots Tuesday. Trump has the support of Arpaio and the state’s former governor, Jan Brewer, who led a state effort to crack down on illegal immigration.

Others lack Arpaio’s fame. But sheriffs all along the Mexican-U.S. line express frustration over what they regard as the federal government’s failure to control the border.

“I don’t think a day goes by that we don’t deal with the nexis of immigration,” said Mark Dannels, the sheriff of Cochise County in Arizona. “It takes a toll on the workforce, on your resources, on your budget.”

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