Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, perhaps the name most synonymous with a hard-line approach to illegal immigration, with its attendant problems of drug cartels and exploitation of immigrants, has endorsed Governor Rick Perry for President.
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 to San Diego. Governor Perry has a superior border security record and plan to make our border and our nation safer.
Arpaio met with other candidates who had sought his endorsement, including Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, and spoke with Mitt Romney, who he had endorsed during the 2008 campaign against eventual Republican Party nominee John McCain.
Rick Perry welcomed the endorsement from the sheriff:
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.
Perry’s explanation contains elements that many of his critics consistently gloss over. He was roundly and loudly criticised because of his comment that a fence along the Texas-Mexico border “didn’t make sense”, without bothering to consider how practically the entire border is the Rio Grande River. How does one physically secure the middle of the river, much less the border up against the cliffs of Santa Elena canyon, or the middle of Lake Amistad or Lake Falcon? Thus the term ‘strategic fencing’: fence where it would make sense, but always a human element to back up the system.
For "boots on the ground", Perry has repeatedly requested an augmentation of some 3000 border patrol agents to the current 7700 assigned to the Texas border, as well as an additional 1000 Title 32 National Guard troops until the border comes under a better system of security.
Update: Rick Perry told a conference call of thousands of Iowans, along with Sheriff Arpaio, that “I’ll promise you one thing, as president of the United States, I will never allow the Department of Justice to sue a border state like Arizona for enforcing immigration law. Period."