Will there be a new sheriff coming to town in Washington?
Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff known for his tough stance on illegal immigration, officially declared his bid for US Senate on Tuesday.
Arpaio told the Washington Examiner, “I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump.”
The president pardoned Arpaio last summer after he was convicted of ignoring federal law in anti-illegal immigration activities his critics characterized as “racial profiling.”
The former sheriff will run for the Senate seat currently occupied by Jeff Flake, who announced his retirement in October with an emotional speech excoriating President Trump.
Flake has a long-standing feud with Flake that stems in part from the lawman’s 2014 investigation into the senator’s son in a case involving 21 dead dogs.
In contrast to Flake, who has pushed for amnesty, Arpaio asserted that he would continue opposing illegal immigration if elected senator.
“Being a U.S. senator is a little different than being the sheriff, because you can do a lot of things in the U.S. Senate, and I have many plans, believe me,” Arpaio told the Examiner. “It’s tough. It’s a tough decision. But, if you’re going to come across that border, you should be arrested and get the consequences of it.”
Arpaio maintained his views stem from a desire to uphold the law, and that he has a “soft spot” for his state’s Hispanic community.
“My mother and father came here from Italy,” he said. “Legally of course. I have a soft spot for the Mexican community having lived there.
“I’m not going to get into my personal life, but I will say we have four grandkids and some have a different ethnic and racial background. I don’t say that. I don’t use my grandkids. So, I have a soft spot, but still, I’m going to do my job. You have to do it.”
The Trump ally also offered a solution to the nation’s immigration issues.
“I have a far-out plan, which may look stupid. When they come to your attention that they’re here illegally, these young people, deport them back to Mexico — or whatever — and then try to put them on a fast track to come back into the United States legally with special permits. …
“That would be no amnesty, everybody would be happy, you deport them and then let them come back with all their education here. I’m sure they could find a temporary job or help the foreign countries and build up relations and come back.”
In the Arizona Republican primary, Arpaio will face a crowded field that includes Rep. Martha McSally and former state senator Kelli Ward.
The competition didn’t discourage the sheriff.
“I am outspoken. I’m looking forward to it. Let them come. They’ll have their political firing squads and bring tons of money here, because they don’t want to lose. I just want to do everything I can to support our president.”
If elected, the 85-year-old Arpaio would be the oldest freshman senator in US history.