Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones has frequently gained attention on a national stage and has been a frequent guest on various Fox News programs and has been interviewed by national media outlets.
He downplays his role as a national figure — claiming to be a“‘lil’ old sheriff from Ohio.”. During the 2016 presidential election, he spoke at multiple Donald Trump campaign rallies around greater Cincinnati.
Here are some national storylines Jones has voiced opinions on over the years:
Near the end of May 2010, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones and then-State Rep. Courtney Combs, R- Hamilton, went to Cochise County, Ariz. to see first-hand what it is like on the southern border with Mexico. During this meeting, Jones and Combs had pledged to push for a statewide ballot initiative in Ohio that would mirror Arizona’s then-push to give deputies the authority to detain and arrest people suspected of being in the country illegally.
At the end of July 2014, Jones sent then-Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto a bill in excess of $900,000 for housing some 3,000 Mexican nationals over the previous decade in his jail before they are turned over to federal authorities. It was the second time Jones sent a bill to the Mexican government. His first bill was sent in 2007, totaling $61,000 for the time and money spent on a drug bust involving what he suspected was marijuana from Mexico.
Jones has also sent a bill to the U.S. government for costs incurred dealing with undocumented immigrants. The sheriff has a contract with the federal government for housing their undocumented prisoners.
October 2014: Sheriff Jones spoofed on “The Daily Show”
Jones was mocked by comedian Al Madrigal for a segment on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” for his views on illegal immigration, but had no regrets doing the show because he “knew what it was going on” and believed they would spoof him whether he showed up or not.
The interview was edited down to a 3-minute parody, which did not reflect favorably on Jones and others.
Jones and former Ohio lawmaker Bill Beagle, a Republican from Tipp City, jointly drafted a letter to then-President Barack Obama expressing their “strong disapproval of recent changes to immigration policies.” U.S. Customs and Border agents testified in February 2016 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.
Jones was one of 18 members of Ohio’s Electoral College when it convened in the weeks following the November 2016 election. Jones received thousands of letters before he cast his Electoral College vote from people asking him to not vote for the New York billionaire.
Jones is an unabashed supporter of Trump, and told the Journal-News it was “an honor” to cast his vote for Trump.
When he arrived home after Ohio’s Electoral College adjourned in Columbus, he burned those letters while smoking a cigar.
Just days into his presidency, President Trump signed an executive order directing the creation of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But his second executive action to tighten enforcement of U.S. immigration law included defunding so-called “sanctuary cities.” .
Jones supported that order and sent letters to Trump, then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich asking for their support to discontinue any funding in any Ohio city claiming to be a “sanctuary city.”
Jones wrote a letter at the end of March 2017 urging Trump to send federal agents to shut down business hiring illegal immigrants.
The sheriff, who wants to investigate immigration crimes, said businesses need to be shut down that hire undocumented immigrants to fill vacant positions.
The sheriff concluded with, “My door is always open.”
A day after President Trump touted progress on building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, Jones drafted a letter of support.
Jones pleaded with the president in the letter to “Please build the wall!! Don’t listen to the detractors that say that it is not necessary.”
After some 200 federal officers carried out one of the largest workplace immigration raids in recent years, Jones reiterated his position that he wants the federal government to raid Butler County businesses.
Jones refused to say which employers are hiring undocumented immigrants, but claimed there are about 10 to 12 in Butler County.
Jones went to Washington, D.C. in August 2018 to talk with U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement officials, and others. He spoke with acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ronald Vitiello, and while he didn’t tell the Journal-News specifics about his conversation, he said, “I was basically talking about workplace enforcement.”
Jones this month wrote letters to former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — calling them “highly respected” — to help end the record-long partial government shutdown and return civility to the country.
The sheriff wrote that recent reports and events happening “are widely creating civil unrest among the American citizens. The extreme divide between our Democratic and Republican parties needs to be rectified.”
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.