It didn’t come as much of a surprise when Joe Arpaio, the notoriously anti-immigration sheriff from Arizona, formally endorsed Donald Trump earlier this week. In an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, Arpaio applauded the unprecedented attention Trump has given the issue of undocumented immigrants.
“You know why you have to give Trump credit, whether you like him or not?” the sheriff asked Ramos. “He opened the door, Jorge. Now there’s a lot of talk about it. That’s good. Nobody wanted to talk about it.”
When Ramos asked Arpaio whether Trump’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants was feasible, the sheriff proudly cited his own deportation record while he had status as a federal immigration agent several years ago.
“Everybody accused me that 100,000 people—people from foreign countries—left town. They went back to where they came from, or whatever,” Arpaio told Ramos. “So if this little old sheriff can cause—if you want to believe it—many, many people leaving and going back to their country, why can’t you do that nationwide?”
Since becoming sheriff of Maricopa County in 1993, Arpaio has been known for his relentless crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, and in 2013 was accused by the Justice Department of discriminatory behavior toward Hispanics, including racial profiling during roundups and unlawful detention.
Despite their shared hard-line approach to undocumented immigrants, the sheriff said he has no desire to play second fiddle to Trump.
“Vice president? Why would I want to be vice president?” he said. “I’d rather report to the 4 million people as the elected sheriff than some governor or president. I like reporting to the people. Whether they like me or not, it’s an honor to report to those people here in Arizona.”
Arpaio also told Ramos that Trump has the Latino vote on his side, despite, as Ramos pointed out, polls suggesting otherwise.
“They love him. Do you know why? Because he’s going to get them jobs. That’s what they want.”
Unfortunately for the sheriff, all recent data points to the contrary.
Watch the full interview here: