Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aizona's over-reaching prior to SB 1070 led the federal government to act. Now, the feds must once again restrain abuse...

Prior to the enactment of SB 1070 by the Arizona legislature, the federal government stepped in and stripped state officials of any pretense of power over immigration because of the history of abuse. Instead of abiding by federal mandate, the Arizona responded by flying in the face of the federal government and enacted SB 1070. Now the federal government must act and put a stop to this latest example of defying federal law. Below is a story of Arizona's zeal prior to SB 1070:

Sweeps led ICE to limit Arpaio power

Tactic out of line with migrant enforcement program, feds say
by Daniel González - Oct. 17, 2009 12:00 AMThe Arizona Republic

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is the only law-enforcement agency in the country to lose its authority to enforce federal immigration laws on the street under a revamped and controversial program that lets local and state agencies act as immigration officers.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Friday that they limited the ability of the Sheriff's Office to enforce federal immigration laws because of the office's record of conducting wide-ranging crime sweeps intended to identify illegal immigrants. Those sweeps - the Sheriff's Office has conducted 11 in the past year and a half - have led primarily to arrests of people who have not committed serious crimes. The revamped federal program places a priority on going after dangerous criminals, not illegal immigrants encountered as the result of minor offenses like traffic violations.
"At the end of the day I determined the sweeps and immigration enforcement of Maricopa County was not consistent with new priorities, which is removing severe criminal offenders who pose a danger to society," said John Morton, assistant Homeland Security director in charge of ICE.
Nevertheless, Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched another crime sweep, his 12th, on Friday.
About 200 sworn deputies and volunteer posse personnel fanned out in the northwest Valley starting at noon. By press time, they had arrested 19 people.
Eight people were arrested in connection with a human-smuggling ring, and ICE officials accepted them for processing as illegal-immigrant suspects. Officials did not provide details on the 11 others arrested.
The main issue now is what will happen if deputies detain someone suspected of being in the country illegally but not connected to any other crime. If ICE refuses to accept people arrested under such circumstances, Arpaio has proposed handing them over to the Border Patrol.
The Sheriff's Office plans to continue its sweep today.
In the past, ICE's agreement with the Sheriff's Office allowed deputies to arrest immigration violators in the community and to screen the immigration status of people booked into the jail. The new agreement limits the sheriff's authority to the jail.
Morton said that, from now on, ICE will treat the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office the same as any law-enforcement agency that is not a part of the federal enforcement program known as 287(g). When deputies contact ICE to turn over suspected illegal immigrants, ICE officials will evaluate each case on its merits before deciding whether to take them into custody, he said.
"We do that every day now in Arizona" with other law-enforcement agencies when officers encounter people they suspect of being in the country illegally, Morton said.
He said the new ICE agreement does not prevent Arpaio from conducting crime sweeps to enforce state laws, but his deputies will no longer be allowed to arrest immigration violators who have committed no other crimes.
"His federal authority to make administrative arrests under 287(g) does not exist anymore," Morton said.
Illegal immigrants who commit crimes of any type, dangerous or not, can still be booked into jail, where officials trained by ICE have the authority to place an ICE hold on them for possible deportation. Authorities will be required to pursue all criminal charges in court before ICE will deport illegal immigrants.
ICE announced Friday that it had signed contracts with 55 local and state agencies across the country, including the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, as part of the revamped program, known as 287(g). ICE also announced that it had approved an additional 12 contracts but was waiting for the local and state agencies to sign them.
The program was revamped following criticism that the lack of oversight had led local officers to look for illegal immigrants based on appearance, an illegal practice known as profiling. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is under a federal probe investigating allegations of civil-rights violations in connection with the sweeps.
Of the 67 agreements, 28 are jail-only contracts, 27 are community-only agreements and 12 are both jail and community contracts.
In Arizona, nine other agencies besides the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have signed contracts or have contracts pending under the revamped program.
The Pima, Pinal and Yavapai county sheriff's offices have both jail and community contracts; the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety have jail contracts. The Mesa, Florence and Phoenix police departments have community contracts.
Morton said agencies with community agreements will primarily use their authority to combat gang members in the country illegally. Read more:

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