Our Message to Joe Arpaio

Today, hundreds of our brothers and sisters in Fresno and the Central Valley are turning out to protest one of the most divisive, hateful men in the country: disgraced ex-sheriff and convicted criminal Joe Arpaio, who has more than earned his status as one of the most reviled men in America. 

Joe Arpaio is notorious for flagrantly abusing his power as sheriff and maliciously abusing the prisoners in his charge. He is a national disgrace who has vilified immigrants from the moment he stepped into the spotlight.

Most disgustingly of all, he’s tried to spin a career’s worth of law breaking, race baiting and abuse of power as some kind of patriotic act where he’s standing up for the “real Americans” — despite the fact that the only reason he isn’t sitting in jail for his own lawlessness is because he successfully groveled, begged and pleaded for a pardon from Donald Trump on national television.

Well, we’ve got some news for Joe Arpaio: the DREAMers and undocumented immigrants he’s so quick to vilify are more American than he’ll ever be.

There is nothing more American than starting with nothing but the talents you were born with and a willingness to work hard and make something of yourself. That’s whatDREAMers and undocumented immigrants are doing every single day in schools, university campuses, military bases and job sites all over California. 

This isn’t an abstract policy debate—this is about real people’s lives. One of the most heartless consequences of this whole debate is that some of the folks most vulnerable to deportation because of DACA’s cancellation are, at this very moment, risking their lives to defend our nation in the military. And last month, as our entire nation watched the floodwaters rise in Houston, one DREAMer—Alonso Guillen—got in his car and headed south to join the rescue efforts. He died when his boat capsized, giving up his life to save other Americans he almost certainly had never even met. 

That’s why a strong majority of this country rejects Joe Arpaio’s hateful rhetoric. It’s also why an even larger majority stands with undocumented immigrants who contribute to our country every day, most especially the DREAMers who grew up here, attended our schools and pledge allegiance to our flag. 

Given the choice between standing with DREAMers or standing with Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump, California will stand with the DREAMers every time. And by inviting Joe Arpaio—by choosing to wrap themselves up in his hatefulness and lawlessness—Fresno Republicans are showing us what their values truly are. 

Every Republican in California has a choice to make. 

Do they stand with Joe Arpaio—the convicted criminal, the abusive former sheriff, the notorious racist? Or do they stand with the folks who are breathing new life into our national motto E Pluribus Unum—from many, one—that all of us, as Americans, cherish? 

This is a moment of reckoning for Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Anthony Canella and all the other California Republicans who try desperately to thread the needle between appearing friendly to DREAMers while doing absolutely nothing to stand up to the Donald Trumps and Joe Arpaios of the Republican Party who are threatening immigrants with deportation. This is about our values as Americans, pure and simple.

Either Jeff Denham, David Valadao and Anthony Canella stand with the DREAMers, or they stand with Joe Arpaio. By their words and their conduct, it’s clear what choice they’ve made—they’re with Joe Arpaio.

It’s up to us as Democrats to make sure the voters clearly understand that when the time came to choose between standing with immigrants and standing with Arpaio, Republicans chose Arpaio and the hateful division he represents.

Democratically Yours, 

Eric C. Bauman, Chair
California Democratic Party


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