Late last week, Sheriff Joe Arpaio claimed Immigration and Customs Enforcement "refused" to take custody of two suspected illegal immigrants that MCSO deputies found in the desert.
Arpaio suggested that he saw this was coming, and had discovered a back-up plan to keep turning over immigrants to federal agents.
From MCSO's press release:
Sheriff's detectives were unable to gather enough evidence on the remaining two suspects to charge them with a state crime of human smuggling and attempted to turn the suspects over to ICE as has been the practice during the last six years. ICE agents, after asking a series of questions, refused to take the suspects from Sheriff's detectives.
"I expected that it would happen eventually, so I had a back up plan in place which was to take these illegal immigrants not accepted by ICE to the Border Patrol," Sheriff Arpaio said. So as directed by the Sheriff, last night deputies took the two suspects to the Border Patrol.
Not so fast, said ICE, which turned over its own version of events.
"...ICE agents referred the sheriff's office to the Ajo Station of the U.S. Border Patrol. Border Patrol is the primary DHS agency responding to recent border crossers encountered in the Gila Bend desert area," an ICE spokeswoman said in a statement. "Agents from the Ajo Border Patrol station responded to the scene in Gila Bend and took custody of the individuals. ICE and Border Patrol work closely together to ensure a coordinated response to our state and local law enforcement partners, in accordance with our enforcement priorities."
After this statement was made public, MCSO Sergeant Brandon Jones told New Times that Arpaio had actually given his staff the direction earlier last week to go to Border Patrol in the case of an ICE refusal.
So, between the alleged refusal and the origin of the directives, whose story are you buyin'?
Cast your vote below:
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