Sheriff Babeu: Obama has ‘handcuffed’ Border Patrol

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Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu at a press conference on Tuesday. (Source: Dennis Welch, KPHO/KTVK) Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu at a press conference on Tuesday. (Source: Dennis Welch, KPHO/KTVK)
(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Border fence (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Border fence (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
FLORENCE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu denounced the Obama administration Tuesday, accusing the White House of preventing border agents from enforcing immigration laws.

Babeu, flanked by Border Patrol agents and union leaders, said high-traffic smuggling routes are not appropriately staffed and laid into the administration for failed leadership.

The sheriff denounced the politicization of immigration enforcement at a news conference at PCSO's Florence headquarters.

National Border Patrol Labor Council President Brandon Judd picked up on that theme, saying the agency is at a crossroads.

“We are either going to be a specialized law enforcement agency dedicated to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws or a political arm of the administration,” Judd said.  

[Raw video: Sheriff Babeu says Obama has 'handcuffed' Border Patrol]

He said because the Obama administration failed to convince the American public to pass immigration reform, “the president is bypassing Congress by legislating through policy. These policies in essence are granting amnesty to thousands, if not millions, of persons who enter the country illegally.”

Judd alleged the administration has engaged in a campaign to mislead the American people to believe our borders are secure.

“He (Pres. Obama) has manipulated the data, had agents assigned to low traffic areas and attempted to quiet dissent by calling those who question his approach as misinformed without offering an evidence to support these allegations.”

According to figures Babeu released Tuesday, traffic of illegal immigrants in the first four months of this fiscal year is up by 25 percent. He said there’s been a 102 percent increase in unaccompanied juveniles. Babeu said.

“What we see from this administration is an actual reduction at a time we should be providing more support to secure our border,” Babeu said.

The sheriff then pointed to Border Patrol Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske and said agents “have a leader in Kerlikowske who says if they don’t agree with the Obama administration and this lawlessness that’s happening that they can go find another job.”

“Well, I have a problem with that,” Babeu said.

Babeu said 1,500 Border Patrol agents that are mandated by Congress “that are not being hired and we see a submission of another 300 Border Patrol agents that are being cut.  That’s approaching almost 10 percent of our Border Patrol that is not being added to guard and defend America..”

The sheriff cited terrorist threats as a reason more Border Patrol agents are needed.

"This is a likely avenue of approach for them to come into our unsecure border," Babeu said. "We should be putting every resource to the border. And instead of threatening the very people who are charged with protecting our country, securing the border, they should be finding ways to further support them."

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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