Arizona law-enforcement agencies are preparing to enforce the controversial immigration legislation the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday.
Every agency in the state had mandatory training from the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board that included legal explanations on enforcing every aspect of the law, even those that U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down in 2010. Since then, agencies have enforced some of the active provisions of the law, including a smuggling-related statute that allowed law-enforcement to arrest people on suspicion of knowingly transporting aliens, a misdemeanor, when the officers did not have adequate probable cause to arrest on a felony human-smuggling charge.
Now it’s a matter of retraining officers on the re-enacted portions of the law, said Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman. “We’re going to continue to do business just as we’ve done it — we were prepared for 1070 as it was written when it went into law,” he said. “For us, it isn’t a matter of having to recreate any wheel here, we already have it.”
Phoenix police administrators broke the law down and plan to send out the re-enacted portions and relevant training sections to officers through the agency’s employee notification system.
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia said last month that laws like Arizona’s can make it difficult for police to build relationships with the community in a city where more than 40% of the population is Hispanic. Garcia said enforcement requires a firm legal foundation to contact any suspect and once that happens there are two possible outcomes: arrest or release. For those released, the encounter is over. Those arrested will be processed at a jail, which in Phoenix and Maricopa County jails means screening from a federally trained immigration agent.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reliance on federal immigration agents to screen inmates came after the U.S. Justice Department in December accused the Sheriff’s Office of discrimination against Latinos in its jail and patrol operations, and Arpaio’s federally trained detention officers were stripped of their federal status. Arpaio’s deputies were stripped of their federal status in 2009.
Since then, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responds to assist sheriff’s deputies with active drop houses or smuggling vehicles and other sheriff’s suspects are do not have their immigration status checked unless they are booked into jail.
Enforcement of the criminal provisions of SB-1070 will offer sheriff’s deputies another avenue to book suspects into jail and have their immigration status checked by federal agents.
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