WASHINGTON, D.C. - Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is in Washington Thursday. He spoke before a Homeland Security Committee on what he feels are the problems along the border.
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security wanted to get an idea of what the immigration situation is like on a local level -- and Sheriff Babeu didn't hold back when senators, including John McCain, asked him about the situation.
"This violence is not just coming here. It is here," he said. "People in my county do not feel the border is more secure than ever and we are 70 miles north."
Babeu referred to recent comments from Secretary Janet Napolitano that the U.S.-Mexico border has never been safer.
"We need help out in Arizona. In anybody's scorecard, if the majority of people [illegal immigrants] are getting through, that is a failing grade. Period," Babeu testified.
Babeu was joined by a few other law enforcement officials from the southwest, who are all dealing with illegal immigration.
The sheriff was also asked about recent comments from the Cochise County Sheriff -- that Border Patrol agents have been instructed to force illegals back to Mexico, rather than apprehend them. The goal of that would be keep apprehension numbers low.
Babeu says he asked his top lieutenant about the issue.
"He said, 'Sheriff, I have heard that myself directly from border agents in the Tucson sector.'"
The sheriff briefly addressed SB 1070 and the Obama administration's lawsuits to stop the law.
"The help that we have been talking about is real border security. Instead we have teams of lawyers sent to our state and those of us of us who are proud to serve in law enforcement are made out to be the bad guys."
Babeu was asked to testify in place of Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever who unexpectedly backed out.
Click to view image: 'Pic 1'
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