McCain Says 'I Respect and Admire' Arizona Sheriff Who Said 'Our Own Government Has Become Our Enemy'

August 3, 2010 - 3:05 PM
John McCain

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called a press conference on Monday, April 19, 2010 to announce a 10-point plan to secure the border between Mexico and Arizona, including the immediate deployment of 3,000 National Guard troops to the region. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) -- When asked whether he agreed with Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu -- who told CNSNews.com this week that "“Our own government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help"--Sen. John McCain said:
 
“I respect and admire Paul Babeu. He is deeply concerned because Pinal County, which is Paul Babeu’s area to maintain law and order, Pinal County has become a [inaudible] of human smuggling and drug smuggling, and he obviously has not received the help from the federal government that he thinks he needs--that is, to get our borders secure. And the latest iteration, of course, is August 1st, we will be having these 524 at the border and, obviously, nobody showed up at the border--another example of the administration’s rhetoric not matched by action.
 

 
“So, Paul Babeu is one of the most admired lawmen in our state of Arizona," McCain continued. "He is frustrated, as is Larry Dever down in Cochise County, and all of the others who have to put up with and cope with the consequences of an insecure border.”
 
The "524 at the border" mentioned by McCain is a reference to the number of National Guard soldiers the White House announced in June would be assigned to help with border security in Arizona, but only for a period of 120 days.

In an interview with CNSNews.com, reported on Monday,  Sheriff Babeu said he was disappointed with actions taken by the U.S. Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union, both of which have filed lawsuits challenging Arizona's new state law against illegal immigration. 

"So who has partnered with the ACLU?" Babeu told CNSNews.com. "It's the president and [Attorney General] Eric Holder himself. And that's simply outrageous."

Babeu also said, “Our own government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help.” 

“If the president would do his job and secure the border, send 3,000 armed soldiers to the Arizona border and stop the illegal immigration and the drug smuggling and the violence," said Babeu, "we wouldn’t even be in this position and where we’re forced to take matters into our own hands.”

Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff Paul Babeu

The Pinal County sheriff had already made his voice heard when he appeared in a television ad with Senator McCain earlier this year. The ad shows Senator McCain and Sheriff Babeu walking along a fence, presumably along the Arizona border with Mexico. In the ad, McCain said it was time to “complete the danged fence” to help secure the border. In response, Sheriff Babeu said “Senator, you’re one of us.”
 
McCain is facing a challenge in the Republican primary race against J.D. Hayworth, a former U.S. Representative from Arizona who claims to have a tougher stance against illegal immigration. The primary takes place on Aug. 24 in Arizona, and, as of last week, Rasmussen showed McCain with a healthy 20-point lead over Hayworth.
 
A transcript of the exchange between CNSNews.com and Senator McCain follows below:
 
CNSNews.com: "Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu in reference to the DOJ lawsuit against the state’s new immigration law said that “our government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help.” Do you agree with the Sheriff?"
 
Sen. John McCain: "I respect and admire Paul Babeu. He is deeply concerned because Pinal county, which is Paul Babeu’s area’s to maintain law and order, Pinal county has become a [focal point?] of human smuggling and drug smuggling, and he obviously has not received the help from the federal government that he thinks he needs -- that is to get our borders secure. And the latest iteration of course is August 1st, we will be having these 524 at the border and, obviously, nobody showed up at the border -- another example of the administration’s rhetoric not matched by action.
 
“So Paul Babeu is one of the most admired lawmen in our state of Arizona. He is frustrated, as is Larry Dever down in Cochise County, and all of the others who have to put up with and cope with the consequences of an insecure border.”