Watch MSNBC's José Díaz-Balart Challenge Trump’s Favorite Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Diaz-Balart: "It Isn't Rhetoric, Sheriff. It's People ... People Who Have Grown Up Here"
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From the July 19 edition of MSNBC's MSNBC Live:
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JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART (HOST): He uses that endorsement that you gave him a lot on the campaign trail, talks about immigration, about building the wall, making Mexico pay for it. How important do you think that issue is?
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO: Well, it's important, but you have to give him credit, no matter how this election turned out. Whether he made the primary, at least he opened the door a year ago in July when I introduced him the first time. He brought out the immigration, whether it's the wall, it doesn't matter. Because all these candidates did not want to talk about it. But since he got much publicity talking about the wall, it became a big issue, a political issue.
DÍAZ -BALART: I want to introduce you, and you've met James Villalobos, born in the United States. His parents are Costa Rican, they crossed in with a visa, overstayed thier visa. He's a student who wants to be a journalist. Now, I'm just wondering, sheriff, because a lot of people in our community see people like James and say his parents are undocumented. Are these the people that should be targeted for deportation?
ARPAIO: Well, first of all, my mother and father came from Italy legally. And I understand the big problem. On the other hand, being in law enforcement 55 years, you must obey the law. And if you come here illegally, that's not right. And I'll tell you, you can talk about all the rhetoric. One thing I talked about, where's the fairness? We have so many people in foreign countries waiting for years and years and years to come into our country legally. And yet you can cross that border and right away you're here, everybody wants to make you legal. That's not fair.
DÍAZ -BALART: True. But it isn't rhetoric, sheriff. It's people, and people who have grown up here. I mean, this isn't rhetoric, sheriff. These are people that –
ARPAIO: Okay. I'll tell you what. And my heart goes out for you because I lived in Mexico City, South America. I think I know more about the border than anybody. So let's change the laws. Let's change the laws and do it the right way. That's all I can say.
JAMES VILLALOBOS: Can I just jump in quickly, what would you recommend, though? I feel like we've seen very little from Congress in terms of immigration reform. What are you suggesting, given your experience?
ARPAIO: Well, I -- those that are here illegally under certain conditions, maybe they should go back and give them the first shot to come back legally in this country, or maybe the law should be changed for someone like you. I don't know. My job is to lock up the illegal aliens -- I use that word. Everybody has to be politically correct these days. And the law's on the books, you enforce it.