Sheriff Dever claims SB1070 would secure border in NYT op-ed

Sheriff Dever claims SB1070 would secure border in NYT op-ed

CREATED May 13, 2011

Reporter: Steve Nuñez

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – A New York Times editorial written by Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is re-igniting the national debate over SB1070 and border security.

Dever admits he intended for his op-ed, titled, "Abandoned on the border," to verbally blast President Obama who claims the border is now the safest it's ever been. The President made the statement during his tour of the Southwest border earlier this week.

"We're simply snapping photographs and saying here it is, you tell me what's going on," said Dever. "But don't listen to me, don't listen to the administration, listen to the people who live there."

In his op-ed, Dever describes life along the border as being rooted in "violent crime."

Dever then wrote: "while officials at the Department of Homeland Security were declaring they had secured "operational control" of most of the southern Arizona border, my friend Robert N. Krentz Jr., a local rancher, was murdered, most likely by drug smugglers."

Dever blamed the administration's lawsuit that has blocked key parts of Arizona's immigration law for the continued violence. He suggests local law enforcement must be involved to help secure the border.

But Dever also admits he hasn't always been a strong proponent of SB1070.

"Has your position on SB1070 changed over time," asked 9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez.

"Yeah, SB1070 won't do a whole lot for me in Cochise County," said Dever. "I've said that all along and the reason is we have 1,300 border patrol agents. We do not interact with ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) except for investigating purposes."

It didn't take long for Dever's message to get national air play. Dever made an appearance on FOX News via satellite from a local TV studio.

Dever then expanded his argument by pointing to Krentz's murder as an example the criminals heading back south pose a bigger danger to residents.

That's why Dever claims associating a drop in the arrests of illegal immigrants over the last two years does not mean the border is under "operational control." With SB1070 unenforceable, the feds point to El Paso and Yuma as examples. 

Still, Dever said he's not ready to denounce SB1070 but may cross that bridge if the feds successfully secure the entire Arizona border.

Dever told KGUN9 News he chose the New York Times to publish his editorial because he wanted to reach an audience, he said, have not paid much attention to the border security debate.