Skip to comments.Dupnik: America 'catering to illegals'
Posted on 04/29/2009 5:42:35 PM PDT by SandRat
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik stood by his assertion that schools should be asking about the immigration status of students but said he planned to take no action nor make changes in the way Pima County deputies do their job.
At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Dupnik said he made the comments at a Senate hearing in Phoenix on April 20 because he wanted to seize the opportunity to weigh in on a sensitive topic he believes needs to be addressed.
"It's wrong for the taxpayers in this country to spend the millions and millions and millions of dollars that we do catering to illegals," Dupnik said. "I don't think you'll find other countries doing that for other citizens."
Free education for their children is a lure for illegal immigrants, Dupnik said.
Fewer illegal immigrants, he said, would help reduce crime and other social problems because most of the social problems that plague Pima County originate on the South and Southwest sides, where many illegal immigrants reside.
"Whether you are talking about school performance, or dropouts, or gang affiliation, or one-parent homes or poverty, you name the social problem, that's where they are all concentrated," said Dupnik on April 21 in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star for a separate border-related story. "That has to do with illegal immigration."
He emphasized on Tuesday that sheriff's deputies won't be raiding schools or handling encounters with illegal immigrants any differently.
"We are not going into classrooms, into schools looking for illegal students," Dupnik said. "I find that thought repugnant and repulsive. We will never do that as long as I happen to be the sheriff here."
While he hasn't spoken with educators, he's hopeful that somebody will take another case to the Supreme Court to test a 1982 decision that appears to make it illegal for school officials to ask immigration status. In a 5-4 decision, the justices overturned a Texas law that authorized school districts to refuse to enroll anyone who couldn't prove legal residence.
"I suspect the result might be be different this time," he said.
But, when told that schools would have to break the law to take a test case to the Supreme Court, Dupnik said he doesn't advocate that.
"The Legislature could pass a law and have somebody break it and take it up that way," Dupnik said. Dupnik singled out the Sunnyside School District in South Tucson where he says a credible source told him one in four students are here illegally.
Sunnyside officials don't know where Dupnik is getting his information, said spokeswoman Monique Soria. Law dictates that they don't ask students' status so they don't know, she said.
Dupnik's latest comments surprised and disappointed U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., who has known him for at least 20 years.
Calling the South Side the epicenter of all social problems is inflammatory and makes Dupnik look like "Arpaio light," said Grijalva in reference to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
"To make a categorical statement that all the crime and the dysfunction in Tucson and Pima County emanates from one part of the community is outrageous and it's stereotypical and based on who lives there, creates racial tensions where they shouldn't be," Grijalva said. Dupnik's call for schools to check immigration status is irrelevant, Grijalva said.
"The sheriff is elected to enforce the law," Grijalva said. "He's not elected to create new laws."
If he feels this strongly, he should at least show more restraint and work through congressional delegates to get action, Grijalva said.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was unavailable for comment, but spokesman C.J. Karamargin said the congresswoman supports the 1982 Supreme Court decision but also understands Dupnik's concerns.
"Sheriff Dupnik is expressing a sense of frustration that is acutely felt by Arizona's border communities," Karamargin said in a statement.
"Illegal immigration is exacting a tremendous toll on our schools, hospitals, law enforcement and social-service agencies."
Focusing on schools is a backward approach to attempting to quell crime in the community, said Jennifer Allen, president of Border Action Network, a Tucson-based immigrant-advocacy group.
"We know that well-educated youth that graduate from high school and go on to college are less likely to commit crimes," Allen said.
The notion that crime originates with illegal immigrants is also erroneous, she said. Numerous studies have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens, she said, making Dupnik's assertions more puzzling.
Dupnik said his position on illegal immigrants has not changed over time, but his position on schools apparently has in the last 13 years.
In a 1996 Arizona Daily Star article about pending legislation that would have allowed states to charge illegal immigrants tuition to attend public schools or be subject to deportation, he said:
"Any legislation that would remove children from schools is a grave concern to us. This country needs to do more to protect its borders. But they need to do it in a humanitarian, logical way. Not allowing children to go to school isn't the logical answer."
Dupnik is aware that he may be alienating some people, but he said he feels strongly about the issue.
"I'm not on a campaign podium, the election isn't for another three years, I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to run, and I'm not on a campaign (against) illegal immigrants," said the 51-year law enforcement veteran. "I merely stated an opinion of what one of the issues is in the security of the border and the security of our community."
Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tucson Police Department and Tucson Unified School District agreed to change their policies about enforcing immigration law on campus in November 2007 after about 100 students marched from Catalina High School to the federal building and police headquarters Downtown to protest that a student and his family were deported after he was caught with drugs on campus.
They agreed Border Patrol officers will not be summoned to campus incidents, although if a police call results in an arrest, immigration officers could still be called to juvenile detention center.
I had to supply a birth certificate when my boys started school...they should too.
As did I for my three.
Wow, look for him to be harassed soon by pro-illegal groups, just like sheriff joe up here.
could each individual state put this type of law into a voting ballot somehow? School boards are net Federal, (yet)....they are run by each state, right? Could this be a way to put a stop to all of this?
Beginning with Cong Grijalva.
You got that right. I got the equivalent of an anal exam when I tried to enroll my children in school. Birth certificate, had to prove residency, etc. All the while, I had the feeling that if I was Mexican, they would wink and let them enroll no questions asked.
When she makes a statement like that, she should back it up and give us a link to a few of these "studies".
he and pastor, but that’s just a dream of mine.......
Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. The son of a British subject, has effectively ended that requirement.
exceot perhaps for you and your sons.