Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu is a rising star in the Republican party, largely because of his strong stance against illegal immigrants. His first moment of fame was in 2010 when he appeared in a television ad with John McCain calling for the US government to “complete the danged fence” along the southern border. He’s also been a frequent guest on Fox News talking about immigration issues, was named the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Arizona, and is running for Congress.
But his star has taken a sudden stumble, as his lover of over five years has outed Babeu as gay. Conservative Republicans being exposed as gay is so common it is hardly worth mentioning, and I especially wouldn’t bother in this case since Babeu has not been a particularly outspoken opponent of gay rights. His private life (as Babeu himself responded) “is exactly that”.
The twist that makes this worth mentioning is that his ex-lover is a Mexican immigrant named Jose. The two met on an online gay dating site in 2006.
But the really hypocritical part is that when their relationship ended badly, Babeu sent a lawyer after Jose. The lawyer falsely claimed that Jose’s immigration visa was expired and that he could be deported if he ever went public with the relationship. The lawyer tried to get Jose to sign an agreement that he would never breathe a word about the affair. Jose’s attorney, who also spoke directly to Babeu’s lawyer, confirmed her client’s account.
So which is it? Did Babeu have a long relationship with an illegal immigrant with an expired visa? Or did he take advantage of the hostile anti-immigrant atmosphere in Arizona to threaten a legal immigrant with deportation?