Orozco’s ‘Tourist Visa’ May Yet Cause Problems for Sheriff Babeu

Talking Points Memo notes that even though Sheriff Paul Babeu and his ex-boyfriend Jose Orozco say Orozco was in the country legally, he may have been illegally pushing the limits of a tourist visa:

BabeuBut as the Arizona Daily Star first noted, US tourist visas generally allow foreign visitors to be in the country for no more than six months at a time. The visas may not expire for a decade, but that doesn’t mean the person is allowed to stay in the United States for more than half a year at a time.

That could be problematic for Orozco, who previously told the Phoenix New Times that he began dating the sheriff in 2006. And it could be equally troublesome for Babeu, who told CNN that he and the man dated for three years.

Prominent immigration attorney David Leopold, who has practiced in Ohio for about 20 years, told TPM that it’s highly unlikely that immigration authorities would have allowed Orozco to stay in the United States with a tourist visa for three to six years.

He said it’s possible Orozco could have stayed for six months, returned to Mexico for a brief time and then asked US immigration authorities to let him come back for another six month stay. But he wouldn’t be able to carry that on for years.

This could pose some problems for Babeu, Leopold adds:

According to US law, it’s a crime to knowingly harbor an undocumented immigrant. A strict reading of the law, Leopold said, would include some of the typical things that couples do, like driving together in a car.

Most of the time, authorities wouldn’t prosecute the boyfriend or girlfriend of someone who has problems with his or her immigration status. But in this case, Babeu is in a position of law enforcement, someone trained to know better. Moreover, he has made a career out of being a hardliner on the subject. A prosecutor and judge would likely hold the sheriff to a higher standard, Leopold said.

“I think the sheriff’s got a problem if that’s what was going on. He’s got a big problem,” Leopold said. “If they indicted him and charged him, there might be some meat to it.”


  1. Chadd says

    If only the GOP, to whom Babeu is so loyal, wasn’t such a hardliner on same sex marriage. If Babeu and Jose had been able to get married, none of this would be a problem. It must sting for Babeu to realize that the political party that he identifies with has so militantly promoted a policy which has hurt him so badly and probably ruined his career.

  2. MAC says

    If Jose is here “illegally” by violating his Visa (and yes he did work full time as a maintenance man for a housing development) then he has no American rights and therefore he cannot press charges (which he hasn’t). He practically admitted in the article that he is a criminal who violated the Tourist Visa over and over by working full time and owning a business and then his attempts to blackmail a law enforcement officer. He should make a run for the border to avoid arrest.

  3. sara says

    He’s probably right. I came to the US many years ago & I knew a lot of immigrants from many different countries & several of them pushed the limits of their Visa–like getting a job on a student Visa or staying pass their deadline.

    Any sheriff who dealt with illegal immigrants would know this & at least question him on it. Also I believe that threat sent included another family member. Just because Jose is here legally doesn’t mean his family is as well. We’ll see how this pans out.

  4. Z says

    KNXV, the Phoenix ABC affiliate, reports that Orozco worked for and was paid by the 2010 campaign for Justice of the Peace of Shaun Babeu, the Sheriff’s inseparable younger brother.


    The two Babeu brothers lived together and their political operations were seamlessly connected, and it’s hard to imagine that Shaun didn’t hire Jose at Paul’s behest. The Sheriff has been emphatic that Jose was only a volunteer in his own campaign because of the extreme sensitivity of anti-immigrant Arizonans to the question of hiring Mexicans not authorized to work here. So it begins to look as if Babeu may bring down not only himself but his brother.

  5. sara says

    Mac it doesn’t work that way. Let me put it in extreme terms— you don’t get to murder an illegal immigrant & face no charges. It doesn’t matter the status of a person–you can’t rape, murder, extort money, blackmail them etc. Imagine the free for all if the US allowed this. So yes, this will be investigated.

  6. MikeH says

    “He said it’s possible Orozco could have stayed for six months, returned to Mexico for a brief time and then asked US immigration authorities to let him come back for another six month stay. But he wouldn’t be able to carry that on for years.”

    Depending on how he was doing it, yes he could and it is completely legal. You can stay for up to six months each calendar year. So you could come in July, leave briefly the end of December and return in January. Now at the end of June, you would have to leave for six months, but the following year you could repeat. The quote is worded badly… they should just say he was not compliant with the stay requirements of his tourist visa. The media needs to stay away from legal interpretations, they always screw it up.

  7. Q says

    @Mac = Babeu troll. Babeu is scum who tried to exploit his power over someone in a vulnerable situation after spending 2+ years having sex with him and telling him he cared about him. He is undeserving of his office, no matter what Jose’s legal status was.

  8. MAC says

    @Q – Jose is hardly vulnerable. If anything Jose is just as bad: stalking, hacking into personal accounts and then attempting toblackmail Babeu. He was obsessed with Babeu. Think about it, how did these alleged threats come about? Because Jose was blackmailing Babeu. I don’t condone Babeu’s actions but he is not the only guilty party here. Jose knowingly violated his Tourist Visa and was working full-time as a maintenance person – which is a violation of the Visa itself. Jose is an illegal who broke American laws. So I guess both will face the consequences of their actions!

  9. kurt says

    Sounds like a lovers quarrel to me. And way too many comments on this are reflexively taking the Mexican man’s side. What if he didn’t try to use his illegal status against him, or what if he said it in the heat of a fight? He did not in fact do anything to the Mexican guy. And this could all be due to his Democratic opponent. I have worked in politics from a lib Demo side and yes, we play the dirty game too. Its very common for political opponents to dig up dirt on someone and distort it to their political advantage, and lets all be fair to Babeu until all the facts are out.

  10. Jesus says

    Yea, what visa was he on exactly? Sounds like he is on a B visa, since the Visa Waiver Program is only 90 days and Mexico is not one of the treaty countries. If he owned a business, it wouldn’t be a violation, so long as he wasn’t working for the business in the US. Show of hands though, how many people actually know the different visa categories and regulations? Sounds like USians need a primer in NIV and IV regulations before we our discussions of immigration matters can actually become more progressive and relevant