Crazy Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- who is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for his wanton racial profiling as the chief law-enforcement officer in Maricopa County, Arizona -- was on Neil Cavuto's Fox News program yesterday to talk about the swine flu outbreak and how it's being caused by illegal immigrants. (For some reason, Cavuto didn't bother to mention the DOJ investigation.)
Cavuto: Should we close the border. There are many folks who say, Enough is enough, let's close the border.
Arpaio: Well, I'll tell you one thing right now, we should be stopping and inspecting and searching every vehicle coming across that border. Washington is not talking about all the illegal immigrants coming into our country, they're talking about checking at the airports and at the ports. Why are they not talking about all the illegals that circumvent that area coming into the United States?
Arpaio: I'm going to say it again: My deputies arrested 900 human smugglers. Guess what? Ninety percent have come through the Mexico bordering states into our country. It takes seven days to come from Mexico City to our county -- seven days' incubation period. We have 28,000 people we checked into jails. We have TB, we have chicken pox, and a majority have come from south of the border. So we have a problem with this illegal immigration.
Cavuto: So if you're right, and this disease takes awhile to incubate and show itself, you could have many, many more cases than are being reported now.
Arpaio: Yeah, but once again, I'm saying, I'm not just blaming illegal immigration. I'm concerned Washington is not talkin' about it! Why don't they talk about all those that evade the checkpoint? Someone should be checking them out!
Cavuto: And you don't think we're doing enough of that.
Arpaio: Nobody's talkin' about it! Nobody's bringing up the illegal immigration and all those hundreds of thousands who sneak into our country that could be diseased.
Yeah, nobody's talking about it -- except every right-wing nutcase on the planet!
Media Matters has much more, plus a video:
This is, of course, classic eliminationist rhetoric: Associate the target with disease and its spread.
And in case Sheriff Joe is confused: The reason responsible officials don't bring the subject up is that it is nothing but irresponsible scapegoating, with the potential for causing real harm to be inflicted on immigrants because of fears they might be "diseased." Not that Sheriff Joe has ever been concerned about that.
The irresponsibility was underlined this morning when the Wall Street Journal reported that two of the very first cases of swine flu have now been traced to California. If the disease originated here in the USA, we don't exactly have room to be pointing fingers at Mexico.