Posted by Phoenix Immigration Attorney Nick Alcock:
Over a week has passed since the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s immigration law, SB-1070. In shooting down key provisions of the law, the justices elected to keep an integral component requiring police to determine a person’s immigration status if they are pulled over, detained, or arrested. Federal officials said that Arizona’s SB 1070 would not dictate federal immigration-enforcement priorities, which include deporting violent criminals, repeat offenders of immigration policy and recent undocumented border crossers. This sparked considerable debate among police agencies around the state as to how exactly they’re going to handle that provision, Sheriff Joe Arpaio notwithstanding.
Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies put it to the test Monday during a routine traffic stop, yielding some surprising results. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents responded to Maricopa County Sheriff deputies’ request to take custody of two suspected illegal immigrants in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office turned over a pair suspected to be in the U.S. illegally to federal immigration officials when the suspects were not accused of any violations of Arizona law, the first test of an agreement that state and local officials have been operating under since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency last week revoked federal authority for some local law-enforcement agencies. This is the first time deputies had to call up ICE since the Supreme Court ruling. The sheriff admitted he wasn’t sure what was going to happen with ICE, but in the end, agents ended up taking two people into custody, including an unaccompanied 16-year-old girl.
MCSO deputies pulled over a vehicle on the outskirts of Phoenix for speeding. Inside they found eleven people and arrested and booked nine of the suspects into the county jail for violating state human smuggling laws. The remaining two, suspected illegal immigrants, were handed over to ICE agents. The encounter was the first between Arpaio’s deputies and federal officers since the recent Supreme Court decision. His office also said they have seen several cases recently where children have been smuggled into the country illegally.
Sheriff Arpaio maintains that nothing has changed in his office since the Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070 — it’s just business as usual. That includes what happens to the two suspected illegal immigrants now that ICE has custody of them. As for the future — he says what happens down the road between his office and ICE is uncertain. The sheriff says that if down the road ICE stops picking up illegal immigrants that his office has arrested, he has a plan. Without disclosing what that plan may entail, he says it doesn’t violate any laws.
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