Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Friday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough memo ordering federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” is needed to combat crime — especially with illegally immigrants. And the move, he says, may lead to a “tent city” near the border.
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“It’s about time. I agree with it because people will now be more reluctant to come over the border with the attorney general cracking down on crime,” Arpaio tells FOX Business.
Arpaio, who infamously created an outdoor jail called Tent City in Arizona in 1993 as a symbol of his “tough on crime” stance, says even though the prison is being shut down by the new sheriff this year, the concept worked.
“It saved a lot of money and I think we should set up tents at the border now too. We need to look at different ways to make prison space now because we shouldn’t worry about that when cracking down on criminals,” he says.
Sessions sent a memorandum late Thursday to all 94 federal prosecutors with new department charging and sentencing polices, urging them to lay down the toughest laws possible for offenders.
"This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency. This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us," Sessions said in the memo. "By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences."
These new polices are a direct rollback of the lenient stance established by former Attorney General Eric Holder under President Barack Obama, which Arpaio says helped create the drug epidemic that is currently happening in the U.S.
“The majority of people that we’ve arrested have been illegal immigrants bringing drugs across the border. And, they just keep coming over, bringing more drugs,” Arpaio adds.
Holder had previously asked prosecutors to avoid slapping nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that carried mandatory minimum sentences. His recommendation has been aimed partly at helping reduce burgeoning prison populations in the U.S.