DHS strips Arizona sheriff of authority to patrol for illegal immigrants

by Doug Stanglin
USA Today
October 7, 2009

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he will continue his controversial “crime suppression operations” despite a Department of Homeland Security decision to strip him of authority to arrest suspected illegal immigrants based solely on their immigration status, the East Valley Tribune reports.

“It’s all politics,” says Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County.
Arpaio will still have the power to check the immigration status of people booked by his officers, but not the authority to conduct street patrols looking for illegal immigrants.

His “crime suppression operations” are saturation patrols in designated areas where deputies would find illegal immigrants by stopping them for traffic infractions and minor violations, the paper says.
The department of Justice and other federal agencies are investigating the sheriff’s office on accusations of racial profiling during the operations, the paper says.

Arpaio said he will be able to still conduct the crime sweeps under state human smuggling laws and an obscure federal law that allows local police to arrest illegal immigrants.

A spokesman for the Phoenix office of ICE declined to comment until after pending agreements with the country are signed.

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