First there was the letter to then Mexico President Vicente Fox, calling upon the national leader to provide compensation for the flood of illegal immigrants coming into the United States.

Once that fell on deaf ears (who was really surprised at that?) came the second letter, this time addressed to President George W. Bush, demanding that the federal government take get serious about stemming the tide of illegal immigration.

The author of those two letters? None other than Umatilla County's flamboyant sheriff, John Trumbo.

At one level, it's a little humorous, and at another it smacks of grand standing. After all, it's not very likely Trumbo's latest letter will have much more influence on the national scene than his first letter that went to Mexico.

But with all the verbosity aside, Trumbo continues to drive home a good point, even if he's beating the point to death.

Every taxpaying resident of Umatilla County should care about this issue, because it's diverting tax dollars in inappropriate directions. Everyone of voting age in Umatilla County should be well aware of the funding shortage at the jail and the inability to keep good ol' "legal" American criminals behind bars.

In his letter to President Bush, Trumbo tells of three illegal immigrants that have cost the jail $200,000 over the past three years. And Trumbo estimates all illegal immigrant inmates in the jail cost between $250,000 and $300,000 a year.

Trumbo, for all of his hi-jinks, at least is trying to do something about the issue of illegal immigration by refusing to let this topic die. For that, the taxpayers of Umatilla County should be proud of his antics, even if they don't necessarily agree with his requests of President Bush.

While Trumbo hits the bull's-eye in doing his part to keep this issue out in the open and in the face of the federal government, it's equally difficult to applaud him for the requests he makes of President Bush.

Trumbo calls for the immediate construction of a fence along the entire U.S./Mexico border. By now it should be painfully obvious it will take millions of dollars to build a fence that illegal immigrants will scale in a matter of seconds along a remote chunk of real estate. The fence will be little more than a speed bump to highly motivated border jumpers.

So, good job Sheriff Trumbo, for keeping the cause alive, even if we don't agree with everything you had to say.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board, comprised of Editor and Publisher George Murdock, Managing Editor Steve Brown, General Manager Wendy DalPez, Deputy Managing Editor Dave Sager and East Oregonian Publishing Company Treasurer Kathryn Brown. Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of the East Oregonian.

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