Program: Al Punto with Jorge Ramos
Content: Interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Interview Date: Thursday, January 28, 2016
JR: Jorge Ramos
JA: Joe Arpaio
JR: Sheriff Arpaio, thanks so much for coming to the show, even though we clearly don’t agree on anything, I always appreciate the fact that you talk to us, something that, by the way, Donald Trump hasn’t done. I don’t know why he doesn’t want to do that. Is he afraid of journalists? Is he afraid of Megyn Kelly?
JA: Oh, I don’t think he’s afraid of journalists. If he was, he wouldn’t be on the TV every hour on the hour. But by the way, thank you for inviting me. I mean, you know, what was it? Last month you were in a tent, and we may have differences but you are a gentleman and I love talking to you.
JR: I think we have to have this conversation and I really appreciate that you always are talking to us. So let me first ask you about your support for Donald Trump. Why did you decide to support Donald Trump when he has insulted Latinos, women, Muslims, journalists and other candidates? Why him?
JA: Well, I don’t know what you mean by insulting. There’s a lot of other people that say things you may call insulting, but no one seems to care about that.
JR: Well, you know exactly what he said about women, what he has said about Mexican immigrants, that they’re criminal rapists. Why do you support someone like that?
JA: Well, if you mention what he said about rapists from Mexico, there are some that come over – I can prove that with how many I have in the jail system – but I don’t think he meant that everybody coming over are rapists. Come on, he knows that and I know that.
JR: Well, he didn’t—
JA: Everybody knows that.
JR: He didn’t say that and, you know, all the studies, all the studies say that immigrants are less likely to be criminals in the United States. That’s what they say. The sources are there.
JA: That they’re criminals… all? Come on, they’re not all criminals. Most of them come here to work.
JA: And, but the point is—
JR: That they’re less likely – immigrants are less likely to be criminals.
JA: Well, if they cross the border, I think, Jorge, and they are violating the law, then that word criminal does connect with that violation, so if they’re violating the law, I guess you can call them criminals. We call everybody else criminals that violate the law.
JR: But, you know, they come here because they want jobs and because there are millions of Americans who benefit and thousands of companies who are hiring them. But let me ask you about Donald Trump. It might not be a surprise for you, but – and we talked about this – many Latinos despise you, Sheriff Arpaio, and you know that, because of your treatment of immigrants and because you have racial profiled Hispanics according to the Justice Department. At the same time, 82 percent of Latinos have a negative opinion of Donald Trump according to a CNN poll. So are you concerned that you and Donald Trump might be two of the most hated people for the Hispanic community?
JA: Well, first of all, if I’m hated, okay. I don’t believe that. Number two, I think you know me. I take risks, if you want to call it a risk. All the people running for president, last time, you know, they all came to visit me or meet me. They all wanted my endorsement and I endorsed Perry at that time. He wasn’t that well-liked either, but you have to do what you have to do, Jorge. I don’t look at me taking risks or if that’s going to affect me politically. I believe he’s the best guy for president; and I’m not going to shy away and I take the risk. I could just stay home and don’t talk about any candidate.
JR: Okay. But you know the border, all right? So do you really believe Donald Trump, can he deport 11 million people in two years? He cannot do that. It’s almost half a million people being deported every single month. That’s impossible. You know that.
JA: Well, wait a minute. You know, in the old days when I was enforcing illegal immigration laws, when I had the authority from the 287G, everybody accused me that 100,000 people from foreign countries left town. They either went back to where they came from or whatever. So if this little old sheriff can cause, if you want to believe it, many, many people leaving and going back to their country, why can’t you do that nationwide?
JR: So you really believe that half a million people could be deported from this country? Can you imagine those images? Can you imagine the separation of families? Can you imagine what the world—?
JR: —is going to be saying about us?
JA: Yes. Yes. That’s sad. That’s a very sad issue.
JR: How about due process? I mean, the courts, it would be impossible for—
JA: Oh, yeah.
JR: —the courts to handle all those cases, and do you really want, I mean, is that the image that you want to project of the United States to the rest of the world?
JA: Well, I think they use this word
through attrition – as time goes on – which is not a bad plan. If you come across illegal aliens committing crimes, other crimes, you deport them. You know, I gave you my figures, 8,000 people in our jails and they were turned over to ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and guess what, 3,000 have come back. Come on, come back 25 times? How come they’re not deported and kept in the foreign country?
JR: But you’re talking as if it’s a big problem when you know that the numbers of undocumented immigrants are decreasing from 12 million to about 11 million right now. That’s a fact. The number of Mexicans, just Mexican immigrants coming to this country has decreased. So you’re presenting it as it is a huge problem and you know it isn’t.
JA: Well, I think it still is a problem, whether it’s 11 million or 2 million. Why is it – why have the situation decreased? Are we going to say because of the crackdown or are we going to say that the jobs are not here? I just came back from – with Trump two days ago when I endorsed him in Iowa, in Marshalltown, a little town – 27,000 – have a lot of Hispanics working there from Mexico in a private business, so they’re still here. I’m not saying they’re here illegally but they still come and they work, make money for their families, send the money back to Mexico or whatever, so it’s a big problem. I always told you. I always say it’s a big problem. But you know why you have to give Trump credit, whether you don’t like him or not? He opened the door, Jorge. Now there’s a lot of talk about it. That’s good. Nobody wanted to talk about it.
JR: And we’re talking about it. Let me talk a little bit about politics. You were one of those who believed that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Now, do you believe that Ted Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz, is a natural-born citizen and that he has the right to run for the presidency?
JA: Let me tell you, Jorge. I don’t care where Cruz comes from. I don’t care where the President comes from. Day one, I opened an investigation on a fraudulent government Hawaii document, period, on a birth certificate, so if you can say Cruz has fake documents, okay.
JR: No, no.
JA: I don’t care where they’re from.
JR: No, what we’re saying is that he was born in Canada and the—
JR: —question is if you believe that he can run for the United States presidency.
JA: All I can tell you, I sued the President, went up to the Supreme Court last week. They would not accept it, but they did accept the other one from Texas – a little discrimination against me. We’re looking at it again, okay? So go through the courts. We’re going through the courts. Let Cruz – let the people go to the courts and see if he’s here legitimately. I don’t know. I’m not going to get into that.
JR: Sheriff Arpaio, let me ask you, do you really want to be Vice President of the United States in a ticket with Donald Trump?
JA: Vice President? Why would I want to be Vice President? I—
JR: I don’t know, I’m asking you. Are you interested?
JA: No, no. Wait a minute. No. Why would I want to have to report to someone? I’d rather report to four million people as the elected Sheriff than some governor or president, so I like reporting to the people. Whether they like me or not, it’s an honor to report to those people here in Arizona, even though they may not like me.
JR: Because the last time we talked, I got the impression that you would be interested in something like that.
JA: I’m not interested in Vice President. Come on. I’m hanging around Arizona. I’m running again for Sheriff. You know that. Nobody’s going to drive me away.
JR: Can I ask you something in terms of money? Who paid for your trip to Iowa? Is it Maricopa County? Was it the Trump campaign? Was it you personally?
JA: Do you really think I’m using government money? I—
JR: I’m just asking. I’m just asking.
JA: No, and I know that. You know what makes me angry, not at you, because I think 24 years as Sheriff I’ve probably bought four tickets on county funds to do business, so no, they paid for it. And by the way, I was in the back of the bus. I didn’t go first class, okay?
JR: So the Trump campaign—
JA: They paid for it. Of course.
JR: —they paid for the ticket.
JA: Of course. When I campaigned for Perry or all these other people, I’m not paying for it. I’m not having the county—
JR: So you don’t—
JA: No way.
JR: So there’s no conflict of interest right there?
JA: Never. Never. I give speeches all the time around the nation. You think I’m paying for it? Which I probably could, in a sense, but I don’t do that. I’m not that stupid, because I know you would ask me that question.
JR: Of course I’ll ask you that question. Let me finish with this. Let’s suppose that Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee. Can he really win the White House without—?
JR: —the Hispanic vote? Without the Hispanic vote?
JA: Yes. Yes.
JR: Without the Hispanic vote?
JA: Yeah. Yes—
JR: I mean, this is a different country, Sheriff Arpaio. You know that it’s changing.
JA: Oh, really? I—
JR: 55 million Latinos, 27 million will be—
JR: —eligible to vote, so is it really possible?
JA: Yeah, because they love Donald Trump. He’s leading in—
JR: Not Latinos.
JA: —with the Hispanic – all the Latinos in Nevada, he’s leading in the polls. They love him.
JR: 82 percent of Latinos have a negative opinion of Donald Trump. 82 percent.
JA: Well, I don’t know where they get – well, I don’t know where they get that.
JR: I can give you CNN – CNN did the poll, 82 percent of Latinos.
JA: Well, you want to believe CNN. I’d rather—
JR: Of course I do.
JA: —believe you. I’d rather believe Univision.
JR: They do great journalism.
JA: How about Univision?
JR: We do great journalism, too.
JA: What’s your poll? Okay, you know what? They love him but you know why? Because he’s going to get them jobs. That’s what they want.
JR: Well, if he’s saying – if he’s saying, “First I want to deport your mother and your father and your son and your neighbors and your co-workers,” many Latinos don’t like that, and 82 percent have a negative opinion of Donald Trump so he’s not winning the Hispanic vote.
JA: Well, Obama – why do you call – Obama—?
JR: Whatever he says and whatever you say, he is not winning the Hispanic vote.
JA: Wait a minute. What do you think Obama has been doing all these years? Why are you blaming Trump? Obama has been deporting all these people so what’s the difference then?
JA: Why don’t you talk about Obama and Hillary?
JR: And we’ve talked about President Barack Obama and we’ve said that he has deported more immigrants—
JR: —than any other president in the history of the United States, and now the interview is on Donald Trump and how he wants to deport 11 million people.
JA: Okay. Let’s see if they’re going to vote for Hillary then, and she’ll continue on Obama’s program.
JR: Sheriff Arpaio, thanks so much for talking to us.
JA: Thank you. Thank you, Jorge.
JR: Thank you.