Jerry Seper, Washington Times, Jan. 31, 2006
An Ohio sheriff has billed the Department of Homeland Security $125,000 for the cost of jailing illegal aliens arrested on criminal charges in his county, saying he’s angry that the federal government has failed in its responsibility to keep them out of the United States.
Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones yesterday said that although the government may not be legally obligated to pay the three bills he has sent since November, he intends to send similar ones every month until the federal government gains control of the border.
He said 900 foreign-born inmates have been booked into the crowded Butler County jail in the past year.
“We’re not a border state, we’re in the middle of the country, but I can tell you the people here are fed up with this stuff,” he said. “As the local sheriff, I keep my ear to the ground, and I hear what the people are saying. I have the bully pulpit and my constituents don’t, so I am determined to speak for them.
“This is not rocket science,” he said. “I intend to continue to bring this problem to the attention of anyone who will listen. There is little else I can do unless and until the system is changed.”
The sheriff noted that recent immigration legislation being considered in Washington made no mention of holding Mexican President Vicente Fox or his country responsible for failing to secure its side of the U.S.-Mexico border. He said Mexico appears to be “doing little or nothing to stop anyone” from illegally crossing into America.
“Because of this, it seems to me the United States should make Mexico fiscally responsible for the increased expense of securing our southern border,” he said.
Sheriff Jones said the U.S. government should seize Mexico’s assets in the United States and use the money to pay for increased border security, compensate the victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens who came in through or from Mexico and reimburse the jails that house them.
The Hispanic population in Hamilton, the Butler County seat, has grown by 500 percent since 1990. Overall, the county—in southwestern Ohio, 25 miles north of Cincinnati—has one of the region’s fastest-growing Hispanic populations.