Immigration Law

Phoenix-Area Sheriff to Defy ICE's Rollback on His Immigration Enforcement Power

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In yet another bold move, controversial Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio has said he intends to defy Washington’s efforts to curb his aggressive enforcement of federal immigration law.

Last year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stripped Arpaio of authority to use 100 deputies to enforce federal immigration in his jurisdiction. The agency acted because of increasing complaints about Arpaio’s tactics from human rights groups.

Undeterred, Arpaio told the Wall Street Journal, Arizona Republic and other news outlets this week that he plans to train all of his 881 deputies to enforce federal immigration laws.

“We have the inherent right to enforce federal immigration law,” the WSJ quotes Arpaio as saying. “If Washington doesn’t like it, I recommend they change the laws.”

At issue is a federal program—287g—that solicits help from local law enforcement to identify illegal immigrants who are suspected of committing crimes. While the point of the provision was to target serious criminals, the WSJ reports that critics have said it’s being used for racial profiling and as an excuse for local police to hunt illegal immigrants.

Conducting the training will be University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Professor Kris Kobach, MyFox Phoenix reports.

The sheriff intends to pay Kobach, who made a training video for the force, from a fund fed by money seized by his department.

The Arizona office of the Anti-Defamation League reacted with outrage over Kobach’s involvement, the Arizona Republic’s Political Insider blog reports.

“It’s difficult to interpret this as anything but an affront to the federal government, the community at large and certainly the Hispanic community,” ADL regional director Bill Straus said in the statement.

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