In this week’s paper version of Unfair Park, we take a look at former Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles’ attempt at getting back his old job. He had plenty to say -- too much to squeeze into the pages of our print edition, matter of fact.
One of the issues he was very outspoken about was immigration. Bowles criticized the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under Sheriff Lupe Valdez’s tenure. He claims ICE is present only three days a week for part of the day, while Valdez says ICE is there at will, coming and going as it pleases. Bowles supports a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week presence by ICE.
“As sheriff, I believe that the border should be enforced," Bowles says. "I believe that the illegal aliens should be rounded up as efficiently as possible, screened lawfully, confirmed as illegal immigrants and deported. I know we can’t get ‘em all, but that doesn’t mean we should surrender. We should do the best we can. I can’t kill all the mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try.”
Bowles says he first started seeing immigration problems as a patrol commander in the 1960s, when he would drive past work sites and see the workers running off at the sight of a police vehicle. He says once the federal courts made it illegal to question someone’s citizenship, it made catching illegal immigrants much more difficult.
Bowles says more involvement from ICE is essential to solving Dallas County’s immigration problems, because they are allowed to ask questions that the sheriff’s department can’t. And while all of the illegals in Dallas County cannot be taken care of right away, you have to start somewhere.
“Sure, we can’t pick up 15 to 20 million Mexicans and put ‘em on a bus to Mexico overnight, but 10 a day would be a start,” Bowles says. “And if you sanctioned immigration, they would start departing. If you sanctioned the people who hire them, they’d quit hiring ‘em. If they quit being hired, they’d either go back to Mexico or start stealing in which case they’d get caught and go to jail.”
At Parkland Hospital, estimates say somewhere around 70 percent of the babies born there every year are to illegal immigrants. In 2004, Dallas County taxpayers paid approximately $30 million to pay for babies born to parents without insurance. Bowles says he doesn’t like paying for those costs.
“I don’t mean to be hard-hearted and unsympathetic; I’m a Christian and believe in kindness and goodness. But there’s such a thing as reciprocal kindness and goodness,” Bowles says. “I don’t mind anyone having health treatment, but it’s temporary health treatment until they can’t be packed up and sent back where they belong.”
Bowles says none of the presidential candidates has properly addressed immigration, which he says is on par with the economy and the war as one of the three big issues. Sanctuary cities, which are U.S. cities considered to protect illegal immigrants, are “abominable,” according to Bowles. He said the next president should sanction the attorney general for not properly enforcing immigration laws and withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities.
“Who in the Sam Hill told [Rudy] Giuliani or anybody that it is perfectly permissible to declare your city a haven from federal law?” Bowles says.
Bowles says politicians have developed a perennial “Pollyanna” attitude toward illegal immigrants because it’s comfortable and safe for them to do it. They realize that if illegals get certified to vote, they could have a built-in voting machine, he says. However, Bowles claims there is something happening secretly that should have them worried.
“Behind the scenes, where the news media is not publishing, these Mexican groups have privately confirmed that it’s their intention to take back the United States,” Bowles says. “They feel that the Southern and Western parts of the United States were stolen from Mexico, and they want to reclaim it. It’s scary.”
One of the issues explored in this week’s story is Bowles’ relationship with businessman Jack Madera that led to five indictments against Bowles, which were all dismissed. The Dallas Morning News recently described Bowles as being “under FBI investigation” for his relationship with Madera. However, Bowles says he never received a target letter from the FBI and adamantly denies being investigated. He also says the paper inaccurately reported that he went on a deep-sea fishing trip with Madera.
Bowles offered perhaps the biggest reason to dismiss allegations of impropriety between himself and Madera, saying he actually outbid Madera on a contract for the jail’s cook-chill kitchen when it was completed.
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“Now why would I do that?” Bowles says. “If I shut my mouth and let him have the contract, I’m on easy street if I’m his so-called benefactor.”
John Sammons, who provided the meal and trip receipts from Madera to The News that led to the investigations, didn’t express regret over the bad press and personal troubles incurred by both Bowles and Madera. He says, “I’d say most things good or bad that happen to you are a result of your own doin’.”
Sammons doesn’t think most people care or remember what happened, and, like many others, he’s not giving Bowles a chance in the primary: “I don’t think most people will give it a serious thought or him a serious thought for sheriff.”
Finally, Lowell Cannaday, an old friend of Bowles and considered by many as the GOP front-runner, offered his view on the idea that the current problems in the jail are Bowles’ fault. Cannaday says while Valdez, the Dallas County Commissioners Court and others have been pointing fingers at Bowles, he has a different approach. “When you pin on the badge, it’s yours. Whatever is right with it and whatever is wrong with it, it belongs to you. And you don’t waste time pointing fingers at anybody else.” --Sam Merten