Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sheriff Joe Ponders Cooperation with ICE

After one of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "criminal suppression operations", ICE refused to accept any detainees whose only "crime" was being in the country illegally. That has given pause to "America's toughest sheriff" -- not because he is getting soft on the undocumented -- and he has now 9o days to reflect on his cooperation with ICE. He defends his sweeps, not just for rounding up the undocumented alien, but because he has caught other criminals. They have netted over 550, less than half have been undocumented. Still, if the restriction now demanded by ICE were in effect, 150 of those picked up would have had to be released. Immigration advocates had criticized the sweeps as racial profiling. Most have happened in highly Hispanic neighborhoods and cars stopped generally carried Hispanics. The sheriff's office claims to have strict policies against profiling and had warned deputies, but anecdotal evidence charges that deputies do it nonetheless. Also many in the community charge that the sweeps only feed Sheriff Joe's appetite for publicity and are needlessly expensive. Other programs are more effective and less costly in identifing and detaining the undocumented. still, even if Sheriff Joe drops his cooperation with ICE because of the new restrictions, newly enacted state laws give him ample opportunity to pursue the undocumented and headlines. (See New Republic article.)

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