As recent as two weeks ago new Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone decided he did not need to follow federal law concerning illegal aliens.
He had been releasing criminal illegal aliens so federal ICE officials could not take custody of them and begin deportation paperwork, according to Truth and Action.org, and calling the illegals “guests” in the county jail.
Concerned federal law enforcement sources informed Judicial Watch that violent offenders are being put out on the street again without notification to ICE.
Under Sheriff Arpaio, ICE was notified when “aliens unlawfully present with additional Arizona charges” were released from the Maricopa County Jail. These aliens had state criminal charges ranging from misdemeanors like DUI to felonies such as drug offenses.
Under the previous system, ICE would be notified prior to release. The agency then would send a wagon every 12 hours to pick up criminal illegals scheduled for release.
Sheriff Penzone has stirred controversy by referring to illegal immigrants as “guests” while making clear his bias toward protecting illegal aliens from deportation.
Sheriff Penzone announced the policy change in a press conference, but he’d already put it into practice. In response, ICE issued a statement calling the reversal an “immediate, dangerous change.”
Enrique Lucero, ICE’s Phoenix director for enforcement and removal operations, noted:
Immigration detainers have been a successful enforcement tool to prevent the release of dangerous criminals to our streets and mitigate the possibility of future crimes being committed against the residents of our communities.”
Federal law enforcement sources estimate that criminal illegal immigrants are being released from the County jail at an average of 40 a day on weekdays and about 10 per day on weekends. The release rate in a recent 10-day period spiked to more than 400.
An ICE official not authorized to talk disclosed the following:
We can’t stand out there and question everyone that walks out of that jail. Even if we did, we would have to make arrests on the street, in the middle of protesters, families and picketers and that will only heighten the danger to agents.”
He conceded in an interview that he may have made a bad decision in that some of the released inmates could be a danger to the community.
“That does not make me feel good,” the sheriff said in an interview last Friday.
Penzone said he had to act quickly because Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery had provided legal advice that detaining the inmates was unconstitutional.
Critics of Penzone’s policies are considering mounting a recall of him.
.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Southern Arizona News-Examiner