ABC 15's report on Joe's ICE announcement
I'm skeptical of MCSO press releases and anything our prevaricating pseudo-Sheriff Joe Arpaio states as fact.
Still, the octogenarian Hispanic-hunter is boasting tonight about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's taking two suspected undocumented aliens into custody after a "traffic stop" by Arpaio's outlaw Human Smuggling Unit.
"I am very happy that ICE is continuing to cooperate with our efforts in detecting illegal immigration activity," gloated Maricopa County's criminal copper in a press release, "especially following last week's controversial ruling on [Senate Bill] 1070 by the Supreme Court."
The MCSO release reports that one of the aliens was a 16 year-old girl. ABC 15 reports that the other was a 29 year-old woman. Arpaio told reporters that ICE agreed to take custody of the pair, though the MCSO was not planning to charge them with a crime. (UPDATE: See ICE's response below. The ABC 15 report was slightly off.)
(Real tough guys, those HSU deputies. What are they going to do for a follow up, kill a puppy?)
Of course, Joe's announcement has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with SB 1070 as the injunction against 1070 has not yet been lifted, and will not be for a couple more weeks. This is simply standard operating procedure for the cowardly oafs of the HSU who claim they are real cops.
However, this latest news may be a commentary on a post-1070 statement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: i.e., that it was suspending the remaining, field 287(g) agreements ICE had with local law enforcement agencies.
(For the uninitiated: A 287(g) agreement allows certain cross-trained officers to enforce federal immigration law under ICE supervision. ICE is currently phasing out the program.)
DHS also let it be known through several news outlets that it would only accept undocumented aliens from Arizona LEAs if the aliens met with ICE's enforcement priorities. ICE's official policy is that it focuses its resources on the removal of "criminal aliens" from the country, you see.
Various pro-immigrant advocacy groups, such as the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, have long disputed that this "prioritization" is actually in effect.
Yet, grandstanding politicos such as Governor Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery have used the recent DHS announcement to assert that the Obama administration had endangered Arizona citizens.
This is patently absurd, as the 287(g) agreements extant in Arizona's jails have not been suspended. And ICE's Secure Communities initiative, which checks the immigration status of all those booked into custody, remains in effect in all 15 Arizona counties.
ICE's local public information officer will not be available till morning. I'll update at that time.
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You can be sure that ICE's decision to take these two individuals will be under heavy scrutiny tomorrow.
That ICE regularly cooperates with the MCSO is not news. After all, there are 50 ICE agents that currently work Arpaio's jails. But if ICE has contradicted itself so soon after the DHS's post-1070 gesture, immigration activists, civil libertarians and Latino groups will be sure to administer a shellacking on Tuesday.
UPDATE: Below is the response from ICE regarding the agency's cooperation with the MCSO on this matter. The ABC 15 report apparently was slightly off, and it was a male adult taken into custody instead of a female.
"As stated previously, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Arizona continue to respond only to those state and local police requests for immigration enforcement assistance when ICE determines that the individual involved meets DHS enforcement priorities -- is a convicted criminal, has been removed from the U.S. previously and re-entered unlawfully or is a recent border crosser. When ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officers were contacted Monday by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office seeking immigration enforcement assistance with two individuals who were part of a suspected human smuggling load, ICE officials determined that the two persons, an adult Mexican male and a 16-year-old unaccompanied Guatemalan female, met the agency's enforcement priorities. Records checks revealed the adult male had been previously removed from the United States. He is in ICE custody awaiting repatriation to Mexico. ICE officials are working to transfer the unaccompanied juvenile into the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, as is standard protocol."