Sheriff Ralph Ogden in Yuma, Az., hopes that President Bush won’t ask him and other border law enforcement agencies to turn into immigration agents and enforce federal immigration law, says the Arizona Republic. In Yuma today, Bush is expected to reiterate his core proposals for immigration reform, including asking state and local law enforcement to help fill the breach while the federal government brings in the National Guard and hires more Border Patrol agents. Ogden, sheriff for 14 years, understands that illegal immigration is a “hell of a problem” and he’d like to help. He said Arizona border communities are already strapped and suffering from years of rampant illegal immigration and can’t take much more. Yuma has grown into one of the hottest illegal-crossing corridors, with arrests at record levels and still climbing.
Ogden estimated that illegal immigration already eats up 15 to 30 percent of his budget, without having officers detain and arrest undocumented immigrants. Local law enforcement in the other Arizona border counties offered similar estimates, saying they spend significant amounts of time investigating border shootings and traffic accidents caused by smugglers in addition to waiting for the Border Patrol to pick up undocumented immigrants. “This is a federal problem,” Ogden said. “I’ve got to provide services to my community, and it’s kind of hard to be all things for all people.” Doing the math, Ogden explains why asking local law enforcement to help won’t work.