Phoenix-based federal immigration agents will be deputized Monday by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office so they can enforce state laws.
Special agent in charge Alonzo Pena of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a press release that deputizing ICE agents will enhance the agency’s ability to work with the Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies around the state to stem the violence from human and drug smuggling.
Federal agents routinely enforce state laws in other states because there is no requirement to be deputized, but in Arizona there is, ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard said.
“This isn’t really unique to ICE,” said Picard.
Sixty four agents will be sworn in Monday, bringing a new component to the arrangement between ICE and local agencies.
ICE has typically worked with local agencies to help identify illegal immigrants and take them into custody under federal law.
ICE has also trained local officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections in immigration law. And with the training comes the authority for local cops to enforce the federal laws.
The last of 160 sheriff’s deputies and detention officers are being trained.
Monday’s swearing in comes as the Sheriff’s Office has stepped up efforts to arrest illegal immigrants.
The Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it was dispatching 200 deputies and posse members to saturate Valley cities and roadways known to be corridors for human smuggling.
The Sheriff’s Office also opened a hotline for tipsters to report suspected illegal immigrants.