(CNSNews.com) – Rockingham County, North Carolina Sheriff Sam Page said the continued lack of enforcement of federal immigration law along the U.S. border with Mexico is bringing the consequences of an unsecured border to law enforcement agencies inside the United States.
“If we fail to secure our borders, basically, every sheriff in America will be a border sheriff because we’ll be fighting the issues that come through those borders,” Page told CNSNews.com at an immigration radio town hall in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
Page said that while the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is in charge of preventing illegal entry at the border, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is tasked with enforcing U.S. immigration law inside the country.
That enforcement, Page said, has been compromised since ICE’s then-director John Morton issued the first of ongoing prosecutorial discretion “guidance” from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that directs agents to concentrate on apprehending illegal aliens that are considered a threat to public safety.
“If their hands are so tied where they can’t do their job, and it’s not getting done, then we have failed because we’re not protecting the American citizens within the interior U.S.,” Page said.
Public safety, he said, is the priority of the nation’s more than 3,000 sheriffs in counties around the country.
“I’m speaking from public safety,” Page said. “That’s where I’m coming from.”
“And yes, we have to secure our borders,” he said. “Yes, we need to have interior enforcement and we need to return to the rule of law and let those federal agents do their jobs.”
“That’s how you better protect America,” Page said. “If we fail to secure our borders, basically, every sheriff in America will be a border sheriff because we’ll be fighting the issues that come through those borders.”
Page and other members of the law enforcement community joined activists and a number of Republican lawmakers for a radio-row town hall event focused on immigration, hosted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The eighth annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” gathering comes at a time when the DHS is reviewing its deportations protocol, including the possible expansion of the categories of illegal aliens that might be immune from deportation.
On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that he would issue an executive order to allow certain young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to get temporary legal and work status.
“Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people,” Obama said in remarks about the decision. “Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.”