Department of Homeland Security officials have signed new agreements authorizing nearly 70 state and local law enforcement agencies, including a contentious Arizona sheriff, to help arrest and deport illegal immigrants charged with violent or criminal acts.
Under the new agreements, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., who has come under fire for his immigration sweeps, will continue to work with federal authorities when illegal immigrants are booked into his jail. But Sheriff Arpaio's office will not be given the power to arrest such people, as it previously had, federal officials said.
As the new agreements were announced, Sheriff Arpaio launched a crime and immigration sweep Friday in northwestern metro Phoenix, according to the Associated Press.
The sheriff told the AP that he can still arrest immigrants under a state smuggling law and a federal law that gives all local police agencies more limited power to detain suspected illegal immigrants.
"It doesn't bother me, because we are going to do the same thing," Sheriff Arpaio said. "I am the elected sheriff. I don't take orders from the federal government."Writing at NationalReviewOnline, immigration scholar Heather MacDonald observes that..
Though this tightening of 287(g) authority comes under the Obama administration, the Bush administration was no fan of the statute, either, and resisted allowing sheriff’s deputies to enforce immigration law on the streets against gangbangers. The trend is clear. When amnesty finally rolls around, among those millions of illegals allowed to jump the queue ahead of people who intend to be legal immigrants will be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of criminals whose residency in the U.S. has been carefully protected to guarantee their ability to take advantage of the inevitable amnesty.