(CBSDFW.COM) – During a news conference at the White House with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn called some illegal immigrants in his county’s jail “drunks” who “will run over your children” when speaking about DWI suspects and repeat offenders.
Waybourn spoke Thursday morning in a press briefing with ICE Director Matt Albence about the agency dealing with illegal immigration in the U.S.
The North Texas sheriff talked about the number of illegal immigrants that are in the Tarrant County Jail.
“This morning we had 4,200 inmates, out of that seven percent were illegal aliens… of those people we have custody, we know for a fact that 72 percent of them are repeat offenders,” Waybourn said. “If we have to turn them loose or they get released, they’re coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood. These drunks will run over your children and they will run over my children.”
The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that backed up Waybourn’s comments about illegal immigrants who are repeat offenders. “By prosecuting repeat offenders to the fullest extent of the law, we help keep our communities safer,” the office said.
Some immigrant advocacy groups criticized the comments, however. Jessica Ramirez, with United Fort Worth, said saying she didn’t believe the Sheriff was only speaking about those in jail.
“From what we’ve seen for two years now, every time he makes a comment like that he just puts everybody in a box,” she said. “It’s not just to a certain part of the population.”
United Fort Worth actively pushed back this summer, against Waybourn continuing a program of holding some inmates, suspected of being in the country illegally, until federal authorities can take custody of them.
Latino civil rights group LULAC also called on Waybourn to apologize and resign.
Waybourn also made a comment about citizens’ views on ICE and how those views can be compared to the ones about Vietnam soldiers.
“The narrative of trying to go after ICE and immigrations is very much like the narrative that was used against our Vietnam returning soldiers,” he said. “They are eviscerating honorable people doing noble things, standing on the wall between good and evil for you and me.”
Waybourn said he understands that illegal immigrants are coming into the U.S. to seek a “better day, for something better for their family,” but he also said “the problem is the very people that they were fleeing or who preyed upon them came with them.”