Butler County’s outspoken sheriff Richard Jones is one of seven county sheriffs across the country to be invited to honor federal immigration agents, and to discuss immigration issues facing the country.
The “Salute to the Heroes of the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (Customs and Border Protection)” is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday in the East Wing, Jones said Sunday.
The discussion with the select few county sheriffs invited on Monday will also could include ICE officials and President Donald Trump.
“That’s what I was told,” Jones said.
The White House invitation — which Jones said he received the initial call on Wednesday — is not a surprise as Jones has been a national voice on illegal immigration in the country, and has loudly supported Trump’s immigration policies. He’s also spoke at all of Trump’s campaign appearances in Southwest Ohio during the 2016 presidential race.
Jones has visited the border twice and even sent the president of Mexico and the federal government bills for costs incurred dealing with undocumented immigrants. Jones has a federal contract with ICE to house illegal immigrants for deportation.
“With all that’s going on in our country, with our borders and with immigration, it’s not only an honor, the president appears to be the only one doing anything about it,” Jones said. “The House and the Senate aren’t doing much of anything.”
Jones said he’s been “battling” illegal immigration issues in Butler County for almost 14 years “by myself, by the way.”
“Your voice gets heard when you’re at the White House, and we’re going to meet with people who make these things happen, or not happen,” Jones said. “It’s good to be a part of it, it’s a team effort.”
Monday’s salute to immigration agents comes about six weeks after Trump tweeted support for “the brave men and women of ICE” and that “we will always stand proudly with the brave heroes of ICE and border patrol.”
“I’ll be with these people and I’ll be able to discuss with them some of the complaints we’re having with illegals, and drugs coming into our communities,” he said.
Jones won’t say ahead of Monday’s round table discussion what he intends to contribute on the immigration topic.
“If I get the opportunity to discuss that with top officials with the White House, which it appears I will, I will discuss that with them. I will tell people when I’m done what I’ve discussed if I can, if they’ll allow me to,” Jones said. “Some things I can’t tell you what I discuss. I have total faith in the president of the Untied States and his administration, and anything I can do to help and be part of it, I will represent my community and do it very proudly.”
Brian Hester, Butler County Democratic Party executive chairman, said Jones’ trip is “just good customer relations.”
“As ICE’s contract with our jail makes it one of our county government’s largest sources of revenue, it’s just good customer relations for the sheriff to lend his name to this photo op,” he said. “We hope he uses this opportunity to urge the president to get ICE to focus its attention on violent criminals and gangs.”