Sheriff Clarke upset over jail sentence for illegal immigrant convicted of driving drunk

CREATED Oct 6, 2011 - UPDATED: Oct 6, 2011

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MILWAUKEE- Sheriff David Clarke is upset after a judge sentenced a man who caused a wrong way crash on Interstate 43 to Huber with work release.

Back on July 21, 2011 the sheriff's office arrested 35-year-old Armando Rodriguez-Benitez.

They say Rodriguez-Benitez, an illegal immigrant, blew three times the legal limit.

In a release Clarke called the sentence senseless: "Why would we let an illegal immigrant out on work release to look for a job he's not supposed to have - he's in the country illegally.  As soon as he's released for Huber, he's going to flee. If the judge didn't find this incident serious enough to send him to prison for an extended period of time, then an 11 month bed-and-breakfast stay at the county jail is a waste of taxpayer resources."

But Christine Neumann-Ortiz with the immigration rights groups, Voces de la Frontera said Clarke is stereotyping all immigrants.

"I think it's cheap political posturing. I think it's the same old scapegoating of immigrants," explained Neumann-Ortiz.

She argued the criminal case and immigration status are two separate issues. "I think the sheriff should know he's not an immigration judge. The decision was in regards to driving violations and not related to immigration issues. I think it's a decision decided by the immigration courts and it's not for the sheriff to make that decision," said Neumann-Ortiz.

Sheriff Clarke has informed ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, about this sentence. He's urging ICE to start the deportation process immediately.