The U.S. Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is seeking a supervisor and agents to operate a recently approved investigation office in Phoenix.
The news, (first reported in the Arizona Daily Sun yesterday), comes after about two years of talks for such an office.
ICE has offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Douglas, Nogales, Sells, and Yuma, but nothing north of the Valley.
"Now it's just a question of staffing and getting things organized," said ICE spokesman Vincent Picard.
Apparently, city leaders are squeamish about how the move will be perceived by residents of Arizona's highlands. As the above-linked article shows, a raid last year by ICE was met with protests by area activists and caught the attention of the ACLU.
ICE is scheduled to give the Flagstaff City Council a PowerPoint presentation at this evening's meeting, with emphasis on the idea that ICE is not coming to round up illegal immigrants.
ICE has two main divisions, the Office of Investigations and Detention and Removal. The latter office is more "administrative," as Picard puts it.
Last year, ICE Detention and Removal packed up and sent home a record 73,000 illegal immigrants. Picard says the focus of the investigative agents at the planned Flagstaff office will be on criminal organizations.
According to the PowerPoint presentation, (which you can read by clicking here), ICE now has about 390 agents employed in the state, of which 311 are special agents.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.