"Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik on SB 1070 ruling"
ODONNELL: As promised, we are joined now by Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who has served as the sheriff of Pima County, Arizona, for over 30 years.
Sheriff, the last time you joined us on COUNTDOWN back in April, you pointed out that even before this law was passed, officers in your state had the authorityalready had the authorityto stop and detain people who they believe are illegal immigrants and turn them over to the Border Patrol. As of midnight tonight, with whats left of this law, what changes for your deputy sheriffs when we get to 12:01 a.m.?
SHERIFF CLARENCE DUPNIK, PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Nothing is going to change. As a matter of fact, for the last couple of months, scores of lawyers have been poring over this piece of legislation and just a few days ago told us that even if the law was implemented, that we dont have to enforce it if we enforce the federal law. The state law doesnt give officers anymore authority than the federal law.
And we have been enforcing the federal law in greater volume than any other law enforcement agency in this state, without having the subject the local system to being overwhelmed, throwing them into a crisis, and sending the taxpayers a huge bill and then turning them over to the Border Patrol or ICE. You know, what sense did that make? You have to wonder, what motivated this law?
ODONNELL: Judge Susan Bolton said the law would require police officers to do many more checks, and not only increasing your burden, but very specificallyadding to the burden and budget priorities of the federal government. Was she right about that?
DUPNIK: Shes absolutely right about that.
ODONNELL: And is that one of the grounds on which she struck this? That the state of Arizona cannot impose burdens on the federal government and reorder their budget priorities and their enforcement priorities?
DUPNIK: I think so. I think the primary issue here was the United States Constitution. And I think President Obama or any other president of the country has a responsibility to protect the U.S. Constitution. If he hadnt stepped in and this hadnt happened, we would have had 50 immigration policies in this country, probably before the year is out.
ODONNELL: Is there anything that you would suggest be written into Arizona law in this territory?
DUPNIK: Not at all. The feds have a perfectly good law. The problem is, is that theres not enough resources allocated to the problem to implement it the way it ought to be implemented.
You know, we hear politicians, especially in Arizona, saying that Arizona had to implement this new tough lawwhich isnt tough at all, it was mirroring the federal lawbecause the U.S. government wasnt doing enough about border security. First of all, this law has nothing to do with border security at all. So thats nonsense.
The second part of this is that the United States government does more today than they did last year, the year before, or any year in the past. The fact of the matter is, border security is a very, very serious problem and I dont think that were ever going to have the border secured to anybodys satisfaction.
I think the first debate needs to be done, what constitutes border security? Because were not going to get there, were not going to be able to deal with the border reformation, which we need badly, until we agree on what constitutes a secure border.
ODONNELL: Now, your governor, in running for re-election, has already put out a fund-raising plea based on the courts reversal of this law.
Youre out there dealing with the citizens and voters of Arizona on the street level. What is your feeling among the voters of Arizona about their perception of this issue? Do they see it as something that need to be done for law enforcement reasons or something that is more of a political football and a re-election maneuver on the governors part?
DUPNIK: Well, based on the people that I talked to that are angry with me, because of the statements that Ive made about the law, dont understand the law. And I think the country in its entirety simply doesnt understand why this law is totally unnecessary and would have just been burdensome and expensive.
First of all, officers, not only in our state, but in every other state in the union, have the authority to detain illegal immigrants and turn them over to ICE or the Border Patrol.
ODONNELL: Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Arizonamany thanks for your time tonight, Sheriff.
DUPNIK: Thank you.
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But then, DUpnik goes on MSDNC shows with Lawrence O'Donnell and Keith Olbermann--a guy who regularly calls folks "The Worst Person in the World." If that's not "vitriolic," what is?