Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 25, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Border Funding

  |   Video
  • Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard discusses President Obama’s plan to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the Mexico border and ask Congress for $500 million to improve border security.
Guests:
  • Terry Goddard - Arizona Attorney General
Category: Immigration   |   Keywords: immigration,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon," what Arizona's attorney general says about the President's plan to step up border security. Find out why the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors wants to limit Sheriff Joe Arpaio's spending. And we'll take a look at how Arizona's immigration law could help some gain legal status. That's next on "Horizon."
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. President Obama today announced plans to deploy as many as 1200 National Guard troops to the Mexico border. He's asking Congress for a supplemental appropriation of $500 million to enhance border security. Here to talk about what it means to Arizona is the attorney general, Terry Goddard.
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon," thanks for joining us.

Terry Goddard :
Good evening.

Ted Simons:
1200 troops at the border, where will they be?

Terry Goddard :
We don't have those details yet, and I don't think the administration has sprung them yet. I do feel this is a great first step. We have been shouting, screaming, hollering, writing letters to make sure the administration took cognizance of the problem on the border and this is a response I'm delighted to see.

Ted Simons:
We don't know exactly where, probably don't know exactly what they are going to do?

Terry Goddard :
We've got some clarification on what they are going to do. They are in a support role for the border patrol. What 1200 troops means is a lot more agents are going to be freed up to do more of what they do best, criminal investigation and prosecution and bringing the cartel bosses to trial. We've got to go after the serious criminal threat that threatens our border and brings drugs and human beings across the border every single day. Its about time we've got some very serious national backup in that effort and it's about time.

Ted Simons:
So they won't necessarily be involved in apprehending and stopping of border crossers?


Terry Goddard :
I think we should get at least half that many, that provides really the critical extra element that allows the border patrol to do a better job. It releases people from the backup they are doing right now so they can go after the criminals.

Ted Simons:
If 1200 is a good number, why not more?

Terry Goddard :
I don't know what the right number is. I'm saying this is the first step, the beginning of a process I think will take quite a while. This is what they are finally hearing, what I've been trying to say for several years: We've got an entrenched organized criminal enemy. The cartels are very well funded, devious, technologically savvy and they are brutal. It's not going to be a matter of “we'll bring in a few troops and they will be gone”, not at all. It's going to take maximum coordination and a maximum effort to go into Mexico, I believe, to go to their lair and get them out. It's going take cooperation from the Mexican authorities, as well. This is just a start, but an exciting start, one I believe will bear good fruit. Everybody's doing it and everybody's taking credit. My letter, your letter, congratulations, Ted.

Ted Simons:
Thank you. Senators Kyl and McCain say 6,000. This is 1200. You're saying don't be surprised if more happens later?

Terry Goddard :
Here's the way I read this. I'm going to try to make sure with advocacy that it comes true. This is a first step, a recognition that there's a national problem that's going to take a national response. I don't think anybody -- I certainly don't have the magic number. It may take significantly more, More ICE, more investigators from, let's say, the FBI that need to come down. We're talking about an organized criminal threat. It's not something troops normally have a lot of sophistication to go after. They can give the criminal investigators a chance to do their job. Will it take 1200 or 6,000? I don't know, I don't think the senators know. But I'll tell you what I think the second step needs to be. While we go after cartels, we need to regularize employment situations in the state and across the country with the border reform.

Ted Simons:
The President is also looking at $500 million in appropriations, that's a lot of money. What does it look like it's going to be spent on? Technology and this sort of thing?

Terry Goddard :
They haven't given us the details. I can tell you what I'd like it to be spent on. It's part of the effort to go after the cartels, that means intelligence, surveillance, finding out where their agents are. I would love to see a sweep that takes the scouts off the hills in southern Arizona. That's one of the ways we could use that $500 million very, very productively. We can find them using technology, night vision operations, high-flying aircraft. Then we have to bring the sweep in and take these people off the hills. Why we've tolerated this for so many years is a mystery to me. I believe this is the beginning of a comprehensive effort to fight back against the organized criminals.

Ted Simons:
With that in mind, why now? What took so long? What prompted this?

Terry Goddard :
I've been beating my gums bloody trying to get this kind of response. Other people and other factors are certainly in place. There's a lot of politics. I know it'll surprise you, but that also is part of this mix. Let's not question the message, let's look at the result and try to figure out how to deploy it at effectively as possible. That's where Arizona needs to be able to get some answers from the federal government.

Ted Simons:
One more political question on this, though. Do you think the immigration bill got things moving?

Terry Goddard :
Well, it could have. It was a cry of distress. At the very least, I think one thing we can agree on, it was a statement of frustration by Arizona, by our legislature, by our people saying, federal government, you've left us hanging out. We're the gateway for over half of the illegal drugs and people coming in illegally to this country. It's time we got some help. And frankly, it was the wrong answer to the question, it was attacking individuals who have been living here sometimes for many, many years, instead of attacking the cartels. Now we've got help where it's most needed and that is going after the organized criminals.

Ted Simons:
We talked about folks frantic to take credit for this.

Terry Goddard :
It's a feeding frenzy.


Ted Simons:
Yes, it is. But there are some critics saying this is not really going to make much of a difference. This is not immigration reform, this is stop-gap. How do you respond?

Terry Goddard :
There are two parts and they both require federal help. The first one, I believe the absolutely critical part, is to make sure the organized criminal threat is stopped. That we use the tools we have and have not deployed in this particular area to go after the cartels, to go after them in Mexico, and that's going to require international cooperation. But I believe Mexico is more than willing to allow us to work jointly with them to go after these criminals. They have killed 22,000 people in Mexico. The second half is to make sure we have immigration reform. I called it border reform a minute ago, but it's immigration reform. It's got to be tough, fair, but it's got to recognize that there are some people working in this country that are here illegally, they are not -- they are not on the rolls appropriately. They need to get right with the law. They need to get to the back of the line and probably have to pay a fine. But we need a system that will recognize the legitimate workers that want to come into this country or are here now, that's what immigration reform means to me. That will relieve a huge amount of the pressure we're seeing.

Ted Simons:
Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano says the border is as safe now as it ever has been. Do you agree with that?

Terry Goddard :
This is a play on words. The cartels are vibrant, making billions a year and bringing crime into the United States. That's not safe in my estimation. Here are the statistics that are so easily distorted. The cities along the border are not subject to crime because the cartels are blowing right past them. They are bringing the Caravans to Phoenix and up to Denver and across the United States. That's the crime I'm concerned about, that's what has to be stopped.

Ted Simons:
Have we heard anything from Mexico regarding the President's announcement today?

Terry Goddard :
I have not, but I can't help but think this would be applauded in Mexico. Because they have the brunt of the fight against the cartels. As I've said, they have lost 22,000 people. This is one of the bloodiest exercises anywhere in the world. The carnage in Mexico is a direct result of the border crime I'm trying to go after. We've tried to do our part in Arizona by attacking the funds that fuel the cartels and make them possible. The federal government needs to step up there, too. I hope some of that $500 million is going to intercept the billions going from the United States illegally to the cartels' pocketbooks. If we can do that, we can take them out of business because they are in it because it pays them very, very well. It's incumbent on us to fight this war on every single front. Go after the drug dealers and human smugglers, but also the folks illegally moving money back to Mexico.

Ted Simons:
We'll stop you right there. Thanks for joining us.

Terry Goddard :
Thank you so much.

Immigration Law Side Effect

  |   Video
  • According to a report by the Arizona Capitol Times, Arizona’s new immigration law will allow more undocumented residents to apply for temporary work visas and permanent U.S. citizenship. Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small explains this side effect of the law.
Guests:
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Immigration   |   Keywords: sb 1070,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Research indicates that Arizona's new immigration law could result in giving some illegal immigrants legal status. Here to explain is "Arizona Capitol Times" reporter Jim Small. Jim, thanks for being here. What the heck is going on?

Basically when someone is detained by immigration, customs and border patrol and get entered into the deportation system, there's a whole section of federal law that deals with this. One of the things that's allowed, a lot of the people arrested on immigration violations can appeal the deportation. They can petition to have their status changed so they can become lawful permanent residents of the state. Or they can completely get their deportation canceled outright. So the idea is that if you take more people under the enforcement of this new immigration law, like most people expect will happen and more people are entered into the system, more people necessarily are going to see their status changing from illegal immigrant to legal resident.

Ted Simons:
Sounds like going from the shadows until now you're in the system, maybe not how you’d like to be. Can you even apply for a driver's license?


Jim Small:
Yeah. The way it works, we have 1900 federal immigration beds in two detention facilities in the state that get filled up very quickly. Most of the time they are completely jammed. Most folks if they don't have a criminal background, no violent felonies, they are going to get released on a bond and pay $3,000 to $5,000 and get out. Most of the folks fighting the charges will apply for work papers. They allow them to get a Social Security card and also apply for a driver's license.

Ted Simons:
We have the sheriff saying he can make enough tents for anybody you want to bring in there. Because of something like this, could we start to see more detained folks, as opposed to just letting them out and waiting for the hearing?

Jim Small:
It depends. I think what the sheriff's talking about is the charges under the new state law, basically the trespassing statute, making it a state crime to be here. This is under the federal immigration system. The idea of this law is to get people and then turn them over to the Feds so they can be deported and sent back to their country of origin. That begins a long process taking more than four years at this point.

Ted Simons:
That becomes a conundrum where you have a suspect. Did he break state laws, federal rules and violations? What happens to this particular fellow?

Jim Small:
I think we have to see how prosecutors decide to handle these cases and whether the state prosecutors, the county attorneys, want to take the first bite of this apple and put them through the state system before turning them over to the Feds. Or if they just turn them over to the Feds and say, okay, we'll wait and see how that's going.

Ted Simons:
Anyone think of this earlier?

Jim Small:
Apparently not. There was a lot of discussion. There certainly was a lot of debate and back-and-forth about this bill at the legislature. But the way the interactions happened with federal immigration law, that's a very nuanced system. There wasn't a lot of discussion about how it would work with that, how it would interact with that and possible ramifications and I think this is an example of that.

Ted Simons:
Russell Pearce says this is no big deal, most of them are going to wind up leaving the country anyway.

Jim Small:
Right. He said if there are people who get swept up and are able to get out and get work documents, he doesn't like it; but he's okay with it because the state and taxpayers are going to save a lot of money by folks who leave the state, whether they go to their home country go to California or Utah, somewhere else, the state's not going to have to pay for education and services for these people.

Ted Simons:
Great work on the story, Jim. Thanks for joining us.

Jim Small:
Thank you.

Maricopa County Sheriff Spending

  |   Video
  • County Manager David Smith explains why the Board of Supervisors is looking at ways to limit Sheriff Arpaio’s ability to spend public funds.
Guests:
  • David Smith - Maricopa County Manager


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is taking steps to limit Sheriff Joe Arpaio's ability to spend public money. Here to explain what's going on is Maricopa County Manager David Smith. Good to see you again, thanks for joining us.

David Smith:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Why? Why are you taking these steps? What's going on here?

David Smith:
Ted, we take our financial responsibility at the county very seriously. We have a $2.2 billion budget and the sheriff's part of that is $260 million. We expect to get value for the public for every one of those dollars. During the course of some of the lawsuits and some of the inquiries that have gone on, it has come to our attention that it seems like some of the kinds of spending that the sheriff's office is conducting is questionable, maybe wrongful, and maybe spending restricted funds contrary to law. I think we have an obligation to look into that. And I think your viewer public would be interested in knowing these answers.

Ted Simons:
So there is a suggestion, a hint here, that the sheriff has misspent funds.

David Smith:
Exactly.

Ted Simons:
Jail enhancement fund: Talk to us about what that is and why there is such a concern there.

David Smith:
Okay. Jail enhancement funds were enacted by the voters of this county in 1992 for the construction of adult and juvenile facilities. And then that tax was extended in 2002. That's Arizona law 426109. It is a restricted fund. There are those purposes itemized of building and operating adult and juvenile facilities, and then there's some ancillary purposes such as running an ankle bracelet program or a drug rehab, services like that. But everything is related to running jails. So it comes as some surprise to us, as a result of the court case involving getting prisoners to court on time through the transport unit of the sheriff's department, when he testifies in court that he has 80 people that he can call on to deliver prisoners. We go to our payroll and it shows 280 people in the sheriff's department under the transport unit. Where are the other 200 people? We start to recognize many of those names, actually conducting field operations of various kinds, working on either sweeps or working with posse members or other things, these are not allowed expenditures under the restricted jail tax fund.

Ted Simons:
If it's found that money is misspent, the county has to repay it?

David Smith:
We would have to reimburse from general fund dollars to that restricted fund to make it whole. Arguably now we could hear from state auditors, from a variety of authorities say, at the state level, even the attorney general's office on how to fix that. But that creates a liability for the Board of Supervisors to the extent that those dollars were inappropriately spent.

Ted Simons:
What kind of money are we talking about here?

David Smith:
It could be a few million dollars or it could be tens of millions of dollars. It would be nice to actually work cooperatively with the sheriff, if for some reason he inadvertently began to do this, or out of desperation, whatever his excuse is, it would be nice to get in and work those books and figure out how to correct this or at least cut it off so it doesn't get worse.


Ted Simons:
I want to get back to the outside funds in a second. The sheriff says he's willing to go ahead and give you the books but he has to be careful, he has to redact things, there's sensitive information in there, especially with a couple of supervisors and others under investigation. Is that a valid argument?

David Smith:
It is not a problem with respect to any ongoing investigation, any requirement that has to do with11 confidentiality for ongoing operations, we could secure that without any difficulty. That is not an excuse to do an inquiry on basic payroll of what funds someone got paid, their paycheck from.

Ted Simons:
If he thinks sensitive information regarding payroll may have been used for certain investigations, he wants to make sure that's protected?

David Smith:
It's not a difficulty, we could solve in that five seconds.

Ted Simons:
Talk to us about the Ricoh funds.

David Smith:
I know the sheriff has the belief, and maybe other law enforcement, that perhaps they can spend this for virtually anything. Well, there are rules with regard to Ricoh funds, jail enhancement funds. Every one of these has to follow guidelines, whether it's a procurement code or specified purposes. That includes ricoh funds. That can be used for investigating organized crime and those kinds of purposes. But they can't be used, say, for sweeps out in the community, okay? It might be questionable whether they could be used for routine extraditions, which is yet another problem I'd like to talk about, Ted. And those -- all of those accounts also should be known to the county treasurer, and those dollars should be appropriated by the Board of Supervisors before they are spent.

Ted Simons:
If they are not, that gives a suggestion of shadow accounts here. Is that what's going on?

David Smith:
It leads to questions as to how the dollars are being spent, who's making these decisions. All funds of a public nature have to be appropriated by an appropriate elected body. That's the nature of our constitution and that is practice in Arizona and virtually anywhere I ever worked.

Ted Simons:
The county went ahead and froze Ricoh funds starting July first, something along those lines.

David Smith:
That's on a going forward basis. There are still funds in that account that the sheriff can continue to spend, but going forward we have not appropriated any new funds beginning next July 1. And we would like to get into that conversation with the sheriff's representatives with respect to what their business plan is for those funds for the next fiscal year.

Ted Simons:
Credit card concerns, as well?

David Smith:
That's another one where there are what we call P-cards, essentially purchasing cards that a variety of people use. And the original purpose was to allow for those routine everyday purchases like fuel, like routine supplies that you may need to pick up to transact business on a day-to-day basis but I'm understanding some of those cards have perhaps $50,000 credit limits on them. This is inviting problems. We're going to have to look into this and either amend the type of limit on the card as a whole or perhaps limit it to just known commodities and purchases that are clearly for a law enforcement purpose.

Ted Simons:
Amending limits, freezing accounts, these sorts of things. The sheriff says basically the county is playing politics with the safety of his officers and the public. How do you respond?

David Smith:
Let's talk about the extradition program the sheriff has. What's come to our attention is that in many cases the sheriff's officers are going to resort cities. There are people going who are not sworn officers in the department. People are getting tickets who are not even members of the sheriff's department. There are occasions when there is no defendant that goes one way or the other way on one of these trips. Ted, what's going on here, okay? When we ask these questions, does that mean we're somehow preventing law enforcement from going on? No. I think that if the sheriff is actually doing his job as he claims he is, or that he wants to enforce all of the laws, let's enforce the laws with respect to accountability for public funds.

Ted Simons:
The sheriff says this is a vendetta, a retaliation for some disconnect between the county and the sheriff's office. How do you respond? Is this retaliation?

David Smith:
This is not retaliation. Ted, I have an obligation to ask these questions, regardless of the context or regardless of what by-play is going on. I am not here as a political person who runs for office or looks good or whatever. This is my management team that's asking the questions. We're asking the board to have a credible program that does not interfere with law enforcement, but does not give a pass to any official in this government. No one of the 13,500 employees of this county can get a pass from being accountable for the dollars that they spend, for the time they get paid on their paycheck, or for any activity of which the public has an interest. And we will pursue this regardless of the false claim that this is somehow political or a vendetta.

Ted Simons:
All right. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Content Partner: