A bipartisan political action committee (PAC) that lobbies for “fair and just immigration laws” has selected Butler County's outspoken sheriff as one of 10 U.S. politicians inducted into its newly created Hall of Shame for local officials across the nation.
Immigrants' List says Sheriff Richard K. Jones was selected because the conservative Republican exploits fear and misinformation to make headlines and further his political ambitions.
“America’s immigration system is broken, and Sheriff Jones is reinforcing the status quo and preventing the problem from being solved,” said Amy Novick, Immigrants’ List executive director, in a prepared statement. “By stoking fear and division, Jones appeals to people’s worst instincts in a cynical attempt to win headlines and attention. Frankly, the people of Ohio deserve better.”
The PAC singled out Jones for various actions including his unsuccessful attempt a few years ago to sue the U.S. federal government and the government of Mexico for the cost of detaining undocumented immigrants in his jail, as well as the incident in which his office detained 18 Latino workers at a construction site while lacking the authority to charge anyone.
Also, an undocumented worker, Luis Rodriguez, sued Jones last year for violating his constitutional rights after the sheriff seized Rodriguez, interrogating him without probable cause. Rodriguez, who lived in Butler County for 11 years, was charged with providing a false ID – a charge he was acquitted of – and was deported. After suing Jones, Rodriguez was awarded a $100,000 settlement from Butler County commissioners.
“That’s Richard Jones in a nutshell: Abusing others’ rights and wasting taxpayer money, so long as he can get headlines,” stated the PAC's press release, announcing Jones' induction.
Jones is the only Ohio politician to make the list. It includes three officials from Arizona, two from Kansas, and one each from Alabama, California, Georgia and Minnesota.
Among the Arizona officials is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a controversial figure who Jones has said is a friend and mentor.
Based in Washington, D.C., Immigrants' List was founded in fall 2006 after Congress failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The PAC raises money for pro-immigration candidates.
Since that time, the PAC attracted nearly 30,000 supporters, raised about $500,000 and supported more than 60 candidates, both Republicans and Democrats.
The PAC states it supports “meaningful” immigration reform that “unites families, promotes fair employment practices, and restores America’s welcoming status for those who seek freedom from persecution and a better way of life.”