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Sheriff, candidate send letter to Obama about closing border

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones and the man he's endorsed to represent the 8th Congressional District in Washington have drafted to the White House a letter expressing their "strong disapproval of recent changes to immigration policies" made by President Barack Obama.

U.S. Customs and Border agents testified last month before a House Judiciary immigration subcommittee they received orders to release those crossing the border illegally without giving court deportation notices. They also testified about decreased funds for border surveillance and new prohibitions on screening questions that were once permitted.

State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, said he’s “outraged” at the “lack of security at our borders” and the state of the country’s immigration system under the current administration.

Jones said this letter, which is set to be sent this week, is another attempt at requesting Obama to enforce immigration laws.

“I stand strongly with Bill Beagle and once again, demand that Obama secure our borders and stop the flood of illegal aliens entering our country,” he said. “I look forward to having Bill Beagle in Congress because I know he has what it takes to fight Obama’s harmful policies tooth and nail.”

RELATED: 8th Congressional District voters’ guide

Jones is known nationwide for his tough stance on illegal immigration, including posting a sign outside the Butler County Sheriff's Office that reads, "Illegal Aliens Here" with an arrow pointing toward the building. In July 2014, Jones criticized a Cincinnati immigrant-friendly initiative pushed by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, saying it would damage the legal immigration process.

On July 2, 2014, Jones sent Obama, as well as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a letter stating, “our nation’s current immigration crisis is a direct result of our country’s inability to control its border.”

He said 18 months later there’s been no “meaningful” action taken in regards to securing the border.

In the letter they write, “In fact, all evidence points to a worsening state of security and continued erosion of confidence in the government’s ability to protect the American people.”

Beagle is one of 15 Republicans seeking Ohio's 8th Congressional District seat that was held for 25 years by former House Speaker John Boehner, who retired from Congress in October. Last month, Jones decided to endorse Beagle for the seat.

The primary election to replace Boehner is set for March 15, and early voting in Ohio has already began.