Former Arizona county Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he thinks recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be deported.
“Deport them,” Arpaio told NPR’s “Morning Edition” in an interview airingThursday morning.
“When we come across these kids, or some are older than just kids,” Arpaio said, “then deport them. You deport them back to the country they came from.”
Arpaio said DACA recipients have education in the U.S. and can be “good ambassadors from the United States to their country.”
“That’s just my idea,” he said during the interview.
Arpaio, 85, earlier this week announced he will run for Senate in Arizona.
Arpaio gained popularity among immigration hardliners during his time as Maricopa County sheriff, representing the Phoenix area, proudly calling himself “America’s toughest sheriff” and touting a strict approach to border security.
Last year, President Trump pardoned Arpaio after he was convicted of ignoring a court order related to racial profiling in his division.
His comments on DACA come after Trump held a meeting in the White House Cabinet Room on Tuesday with lawmakers from both parties. During the meeting, Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats alike by offering support for a comprehensive immigration deal.
Trump is seeking a deal that would allow young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children and now covered by DACA to stay in the country.
He is also seeking border security measures, changes to family-based migration, in which extended family members of legal immigrants are allowed into the country, and changes to the visa lottery program.
Trump announced last year that he was rescinding DACA with a six-month delay so Congress could pass legislation.
A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday temporarily blocked Trump’s action, however. Judge William Alsup said the program must remain in place while litigation over Trump’s decision to end the program plays out.