By DEXTER DUGGAN
PHOENIX — A just-deported illegal immigrant convicted of identity theft “went to Mass and whispered the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church,” claimed an editorial in Arizona’s largest daily paper, venting its customary ill-informed outrage against obeying border and immigration laws.
And which “sacraments” did the identity thief “whisper” during Mass shortly before deportation? Baptism or Confirmation? Maybe Matrimony and Holy Orders? Or perhaps she mumbled the Anointing of the Sick?
The ID stealer was deported to a Catholic shelter just across the international line from Arizona.
Lots of confusion seemed to be in the air as the Phoenix-based Arizona Republic raged against President Trump’s new enforcement of existing laws, even while the recently elected Democratic Party sheriff hereabouts, Paul Penzone, did his own embarrassing twirl after he started setting jailed illegal aliens free instead of turning them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Phoenix NBC television affiliate, KPNX (Channel 12), reported on February 22, “It was Penzone’s first major break with policies dating from the 24-year reign of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”
The open-borders Republic editorial mixed its incomprehension of Catholic belief and practice with its familiar campaign to regularize defiant illegal immigration as being as American as apple pie with salsa.
Fully half of the broadsheet-sized newspaper’s editorial page on February 10 was dominated by an editorial that stretched the width of the page, under the two-line headline, “Protests are just the start of immigration upheaval.” It included a large photo of a bearded protester jamming himself around a wheel of a federal vehicle to prevent it moving.
“Upheaval seems to follow Donald Trump like a storm cloud,” the Republic hyperventilated, warning that if many more deportations dare occur such as the one of the local identity thief, “you can expect mass convulsions.”
Yes, “mass convulsions” against removing serious lawbreakers. Do the Republic and its open-borders cheerleaders prefer that Trump and the nation be torn to shreds rather than their lawless open-borders dreams cease?
As Trump showed he was serious about keeping campaign promises for border security, the muscular open-borders establishment began flexing to resist him however it could.
Although the Grand Canyon State has suffered direct hits against its residents’ safety and welfare from the massive invasion from the south, Arizona’s elite remained determined that it must continue.
For years the Republic has smeared, mocked, and fought against foes of unending illegal immigration, with veteran 84-year-old Maricopa County Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio being toppled in last November’s election.
A carefully timed assault against Arpaio in 2016 by a biased local federal judge, G. Murray Snow, and Barack Obama’s Justice Department helped pummel Arpaio, as did $2 million in anti-Arpaio campaign donations from immoral globalist George Soros.
Reymundo Torres, a conservative Arizona Republican activist, told The Wanderer during a February 26 interview that the situation has been exactly reversed after last November’s election — whereas the GOP’s Arpaio held office under open-borders Obama, now immigration softie Democrat Penzone has to contend with Republican Trump in the White House.
“Paul Penzone is going to find himself on the wrong side of the law” with Trump, Torres said, adding that the president is “not going to tolerate” counties, cities, or other jurisdictions with lenient or “sanctuary”-like policies.
Conservative GOP campaign consultant Constantin Querard emailed The Wanderer on February 26:
“Penzone ran as the anti-Arpaio and he is serious about running his department that way. So where Arpaio spoke about illegal aliens, Penzone calls them ‘guests.’ And where Arpaio was serious about keeping criminals off of the street, Penzone is more interested in making a politically correct point to earn himself some media love.
“But the fact remains that his actions place lives in danger, and it’s simply a matter of time before his decision results in the rape or assault or murder of another innocent victim,” Querard said. “When that happens, he will have succeeded in being the anti-Arpaio, because Arpaio focused on protecting innocent victims, and Penzone will have helped to increase their number.”
Similar public outrage had Penzone quickly dodging and weaving after apparently thinking he could get away with being the open-borders slacker that the Republic expected him to be.
Conservative Rob Haney, retired former chairman of the local Maricopa County Republican Party, emailed The Wanderer on February 26 that although Arizona is “nominally a Republican state, many of the Republican officials are powerful advocates for illegal aliens. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake are the two most prominent.
“I believe Penzone was under the impression that he had enough support from the elite political class to change the tough approach Sheriff Arpaio had taken on criminal illegal aliens,” Haney said, adding:
“. . . However, with President Trump’s actions to enforce existing immigration law garnering so much press, it has highlighted Penzone’s course in the opposite direction. He is beginning to feel the heat from citizens who believe they are now placed in much more danger by Penzone’s soft approach to crime.
“He thought the elite-class politicians would have his back on this one, but they haven’t said a word in his defense. It is now time for a strategic retreat until things cool down a little. Hence, he has just requested guidance from (the Department of Homeland Security) in revising his edict, knowing that Gen. John Kelly is the new sheriff in America and doesn’t suffer fools easily,” Haney said.
Illustrating the quick national attention that Penzone’s policy change received, the New York Daily News on February 19 posted a quotation from an ICE spokeswoman critical of the sheriff’s office’s policy, saying it “will undoubtedly result in dangerous criminal aliens being released to the street to re-victimize the innocent citizens of that community.
“Additionally, the new policy puts ICE officers at a higher risk as more fugitive-operations teams will need to arrest criminal aliens outside of the secure confines of the county jail,” she said.
A wilting Penzone issued a news release on February 24 saying in boldface type that he had just been informed it’s within his authority “to permit the transfer of custody of individuals who are deemed in violation of federal immigration law to ICE agents inside the Maricopa County Jail facilities.”
KPNX, the Phoenix TV station, said Penzone’s plan had been to let ICE pick up inmates outside the jails, but ICE said this posed “endless” possibilities for problems, including inmates running away.
The TV station showed Steve Ronnebeck, the father of a 21-year-old young man killed by an illegal alien, saying, “I’ll be honest. I was mad as a hornet” when Penzone changed the policy, after the sheriff told him it wouldn’t change.
Ronnebeck’s son, Grant, was clerking at a convenience store in suburban Mesa in early 2015 when an impatient illegal alien, free on bond and awaiting a deportation hearing, shot him for being too slow to hand over some cigarettes.
Penzone said he had softened the release policy due to a review by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. But the head of that office, chief prosecutor Bill Montgomery, a Republican, told his regularly scheduled news conference on February 22 that he didn’t recall which of the two offices initiated the request for review.
As reporters pressed about possible dangers to the public, Montgomery said, “I was trying to think, you know, what came first, the chicken or the egg. Did the client (sheriff’s office) come forward and say review these policies, or did we say, hey, we’re aware of this threat of litigation. I can’t remember.”
The threat of litigation referred to possible lawsuits by inmates who’d allege their Fourth Amendment rights were violated by what’s known as a courtesy hold while awaiting the pickup by ICE.
“I can tell you,” Montgomery continued, “there was not a wholesale request to review all office policies and procedures.”
When a reporter pressed him about putting violent offenders on the streets, Montgomery replied, “I don’t believe that as we move forward, ICE will find an uncooperative partner” at the sheriff’s office.
However, if the sheriff’s office fears lawsuits by inmates, what about possible lawsuits by relatives of someone injured or killed by an illegal immigrant who was sprung free?
A “Victimless Crime”
Reymundo Torres, the local conservative GOP activist and a Catholic, told The Wanderer, “I can’t speak to Bill Montgomery’s reasoning” because it’s at variance with the other county attorneys of Arizona.
Although Montgomery is “largely regarded as a conservative,” Torres raised the possibility that the prosecutor could have come under pressure from a powerful figure such as open-borders John McCain, who “does not want to give Trump any kind of victories.”
A few moments earlier, Torres said, “If there is any kind of grander motivation there” for Montgomery’s action, “…I would be interested to see if any dots connect” to someone like McCain.
Torres is a third-generation American whose family came here legally from Mexico. However, as he grew up, his parents sent him to Mexico City to attend college and learn Spanish. Today his business travels take him to Mexico, where he stays current with events.
Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to deal with identity theft, Torres said, and it’s a serious crime in the U.S. that brings mandatory jail time for misusing a federal document.
However, he said, stealing an ID is not wrong in the least to Mexicans.
“That is the level it is seen at by the average Mexican. It’s not an issue,” Torres said. “They can’t understand for the life of them why it’s an issue….It’s a victimless crime to them where it’s no big deal to impersonate someone.”
Mexicans regard obtaining someone else’s identity as “the cost of doing business,” and they either can buy the IDs while still in Mexico or after coming here, he said.
For them, ID theft against Americans may be naiveté instead of malice, he said, even though it’s certainly wrong.