Almost a year after her husband was slain by an illegal immigrant, the widow of a Phoenix police officer is at the center of a new firestorm over the immigration issue, says the Arizona Republic. A talk-show host is taking shots at her for supporting what he calls “amnesty,” and the local police are rushing to her defense. Julie Erfle traveled to Washington, D.C., last week with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon to advocate for immigration reform at a Police Foundation conference. Her husband, Nick Erfle, was killed last year by an illegal immigrant in an incident that sparked a furor over Phoenix police policy.
Erfle’s trip led Bruce Jacobs, who hosts a morning talk show on KFYI-AM (550), to blast her position on immigration reform. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Julie Erfle,” Jacobs said yesterday, giving her “partial blame” when “the next police officer is gunned down.” Leaders of local police organizations then held a press conference to denounce Jacobs. Nick Erfle was killed Sept. 18 by 22-year-old Erik Jovani Martinez, who was in the country illegally. Jacobs and others have blamed Erfle’s murder on lax immigration-enforcement policies, including a Phoenix police rule that prevented officers in most cases from inquiring about immigration status. That rule was changed earlier this year so that anyone detained on a misdemeanor or felony is asked about his or her status.