Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weekend sweep nets 66 arrests, sheriff says

by Amy B Wang - Oct. 20, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
announced Monday that it arrested 66 suspects during its 12th crime-suppression sweep over the weekend. Thirty of those arrested were suspected of being in the country illegally.

The two-day operation took place across the northwest Valley, including a raid on a car wash in Peoria as part of an employer-sanctions investigation.

Deputies turned over 19 of the 30 suspected illegal immigrants who were not suspected of any other criminal violations to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been accused of racial profiling and civil-rights violations while conducting his controversial sweeps. In the past, the sheriff used a 287(g) agreement with the federal government to detain illegal immigrants. The agreement expired last week.

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.

ICE officials told The Republic last week that 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.

A spokesman for the Sheriff's Office said they turned the suspects over to ICE without incident.

Arpaio has maintained that he can continue to arrest undocumented immigrants during such sweeps even without the special agreement with ICE.

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