from the “Washington Times”
EDITORIAL: ICE gags sheriff
Illegals freed through Obama policy change
By | Wednesday, August 5, 2009
It was bad enough that federal immigration officials blamed an Arizona sheriff for releasing illegal immigrants when the feds themselves actually had ordered the release. What’s worse is that releasing illegals is becoming official policy and the feds have issued a gag order to try to stop the sheriff from telling the public about it.
The spat between controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) surfaced on July 23 and 24 when the sheriff’s deputies were ordered by ICE officials to release illegal immigrants who had been caught in a broader criminal sweep. Sheriff Arpaio complained to the media; a federal spokesman claimed the release was the sheriff’s fault; and the sheriff then released audiotapes proving that ICE officials, not he, had ordered the release.
Caught looking foolish, ICE officials threatened to withdraw the sheriff’s authority to enforce any immigration laws because the sheriff had violated a ban on contacting the media without first obtaining approval from the Department of Homeland Security, which is ICE’s parent agency.
Yes, you read that correctly: The sheriff was ordered to shut up. To make it clearer, ICE’s principal legal adviser, Peter S. Vincent, wrote to Arpaio attorney Robert Driscoll on July 31 that the sheriff’s department, under the terms of its agreement with ICE, must “coordinate with ICE regarding information to be released to the media regarding actions taken under this memorandum of agreement.”