Actor Steven Seagal is considering running for governor of his home state, Arizona, and says his priorities would be immigration and securing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Seagal, 61, spoke about the possibility during an interview with KNXV-TV about his new reality show, “Steven Seagal – Lawman: Maricopa County.”
Seagal said he has discussed vying for the governor’s post with his kindred spirit, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made national headlines with his hard-line approach toward undocumented immigrants.
“Joe Arpaio and I were talking about me running for governor of Arizona. I would remotely consider it, but I have a lot of other responsibilities."
- Steven Seagal
Seagal worked with Arpaio for the reality show, which airs on cable TV's Reelz Channel.
The martial arts expert is a member of Arpaio's posse, made up of 3,000 unpaid civilians. He also has been deputized with sheriff's offices in New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana.
“Joe Arpaio and I were talking about me running for governor of Arizona. I would remotely consider it, but I have a lot of other responsibilities that may be more important to address,” Seagal said in the interview.
He said border security had been a casualty of being overlooked "by the current administration... I think that it’s a crime."
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, is required to leave her post this year, though she has suggested that she may challenge state laws that preclude her from running for re-election.
Brewer gained national attention for signing SB 1070, a state measure that called for, among other things, police to check the immigration status of people they stop during the course of their work.
Brewer’s argument for Arizona needing its own immigration law was that Congress and the White House had failed to address illegal immigration, thus forcing states to take the matter into their own hands. Other states followed with their own measures, though many were challenged in court, where judges blocked segments from being implemented.
Seven months ago, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled Arpaio’s office systematically singled out Latinos in its trademark immigration patrols and that sheriff’s deputies unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people who were pulled over.
Arpaio said he doesn’t regret getting involved in immigration enforcement and believes his efforts have helped lower crime in the county. He noted the state legislature passed several immigration laws in recent years that he’s duty-bound to enforce. “It was worth the money, and it was worth the effort,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio is appealing the ruling and said it cast an unfavorable and unfair light on his deputies.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.