By Sheriff Joe Arpaio

It’s no secret that our southern border is in crisis. Unfortunately, left-wing activists have seized upon this troubling time to advance their agenda. Each year their campaigns reach new sophistication, even going as far as organizing shareholder resolutions pushing liberal policies in corporate board rooms. But now they’re jeopardizing our nation’s safety with intense pressure on banks to sever ties with the private prison industry which develops and supplies most of the ICE (Federal) and Border Patrol detention areas and holding cells. Not only is this detrimental to our border security, but it’s simply unlawful.

These liberal activists are ignoring the fact that the federal government explicitly forbids banking discrimination of any kind. In fact, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s official policy on how regulators should oversee banks states, “The Agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form.” This is because banks exist to help industries flourish, regardless of party politics. They are not in the business of choosing market winners and losers. And when they do, our nation suffers.

Bank lending to the private prison industry is essential in keeping our borders secure and holding criminals accountable. After all, noncitizen arrests by the US government more than tripled over the past decade – accounting for 64 percent of all federal arrests. With the influx of illegal aliens crossing our borders, it’s critical we have the resources to detain both them and our own domestic criminals. The federal government cannot, and should not, solely rely on taxpayer dollars to accommodate this surge in criminal population. This is why it’s essential that the government can utilize the private sector to address overpopulation in prisons and ensure sufficient resources. Without the private sector, American taxpayers are left footing the bill. Banks need to stand up against this liberal pressure to protect the American people.

Unsurprisingly, these tactics are nothing new – they’re just an evolved version of an Obama-era scheme. In 2013, the Obama Administration launched a questionable program called “Operation Choke Point.” This secretive initiative was created to starve “unsavory” industries of resources by pressuring banks not to lend to them – essentially “choking them off” from the money the unfavored industries needed to survive. Targeted industries at the time included gun stores, short-term lenders and ammunition shops. And thankfully, the Trump Administration has ended these improper federal practices.

Republican Congressmen rightfully reacted favorable to the end to that unfortunate era: “We applaud the Trump Justice Department for decisively ending Operation Choke Point…The Obama Administration created this ill-advised program to suffocate legitimate businesses to which it was ideologically opposed by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses.”

But like weeds, when one liberal quest is eliminated another soon crops up with a vengeance. AOC and Elizabeth Warren are championing the effort to pressure big banks into discriminating against companies they don’t like. And unfortunately, they’ve had success with banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. But we cannot let them continue this unsettling trend. Our national security depends on it.

Liberal attacks on specific industries have real world impacts on the lives of individuals across the country. Americans may see their ability to arm themselves compromised as firearms companies go out of business, our border – which is already a mess – will only worsen without private detention facilities, and the energy needed to power our homes and communities will become unaffordable. Simply put, banking discrimination brings havoc to our nation and harms our overall global dominance.

This liberal reign of terror against lawful industries must end. Banks and Republicans in Congress need to stand up against this hijacking of the free market and activist harassment. If they do not push back now, it’s unsettling to think of how far the left-wing policy agenda might go. 

Sheriff Joe Arpaio known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” had a long and decorated career in law enforcement before being elected to Sheriff of Maricopa County in 1992. Prior to being Sheriff Arpaio was federal narcotics agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In his last years with the DEA, Arpaio also gained invaluable expertise on border issues and enforcement as the head of the DEA in the border states of Arizona and Texas. He concluded his remarkable federal career as head of the DEA for Arizona.

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