On Nov. 1, President Trump tweeted his closing argument for the midterm elections: A campaign video that was widely criticized as racist.
It implied that immigrants, as a group, make Americans unsafe. It directly stated that Democrats were responsible for admitting Luis Bracamontes, who killed two Sacramento police officers in 2014, into the country and allowing him to stay.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
But the Sacramento Bee reports that Republicans are largely responsible for Bracamontes walking free in the United States. Sheriff Joe Arpaio — a staunch Trump ally, conservative Republican and immigration hard-liner — arrested Bracamontes on drug charges in Arizona, then released him for reasons that are unclear.
The Bee details the criminal history of Bracamontes, who first came to the U.S. in 1993: “Prosecutors in Phoenix say he was arrested Sept. 25, 1996, on deportable drug offenses related to marijuana possession and sentenced to four months in jail starting in January 1997. Bracamontes served his time in then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent-city jail, then was handed over to federal immigration agents and deported on June 3, 1997, during Clinton’s second term. He apparently did not stay in Mexico long. Records in Arizona show he was arrested on drug charges again in Phoenix in 1998, then released ‘for reasons unknown’ by Arpaio’s office.”
Bracamontes left the U.S. again, but re-entered the country for the last time under the watch of a Republican sheriff and president. Deported to Mexico in 2001, Bracamontes slipped back into the United States shortly thereafter — during the presidency of George W. Bush, a Republican. Bracamontes married in 2002 and lived near Salt Lake City without incident until October 2014, when he and his wife killed two officers while high on methamphetamine. Bracamontes is on death row for the slayings.
Who is Joe Arpaio?
Arpaio, who billed himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” was found by the Justice Department to have committed the worst pattern of racial profiling in the nation’s history. His office paid $146 million in restitution. In 2017, Arpaio was found in contempt of court for ignoring a court order to stop detaining immigrants without cause. President Trump pardoned him earlier this year.
The facts about immigrants and public safety paint a different picture than the nightmare landscapes espoused by Arpaio, Trump and other Republicans. Multiple studies show that immigrants are far less likely to commit violent crimes than native-born Americans, and U.S. cities which have seen a higher influx of immigrants over the last several decades have also seen a drop in crime.