Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini begrudgingly acknowledged in a column yesterday that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas have made impressive strides combating illegal immigration from a local level, making Arizona a leader across the country in this area. Montini discussed how local police chiefs in Phoenix and Mesa recently revised their sanctuary city policies in reaction to Arpaio's and Thomas's efforts. Montini speculates that Mesa would have never changed its policy if Arpaio hadn't gone in there with his "crime suppression sweeps" arresting illegal immigrants.
Like it or not. Admit it or not. Believe it or not. Thomas and Arpaio have changed our Valley, our state, maybe even our country...We can question their politics and their tactics. But we can't question their results.
Before Thomas and Arpaio, illegal immigration was treated by law enforcement with the same lack of interest as arcane laws about cohabitation. Then Thomas ran for county attorney on the seemingly bizarre slogan of "Stop illegal immigration." Immigration was thought to be a federal problem that county prosecutors didn't have anything to do with. He changed that.Thomas was also ridiculed when he ran for office on this platform since Maricopa County does not border Mexico; it's a couple hundred miles away from the border. Thomas proved that illegal immigration affects the entire state, not just the border.