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.
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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.