Arpaio has denied the allegations and says he is a target because of his tough immigration enforcement. His office has continued to do immigration sweeps. Arpaio said he is enforcing state anti-smuggling and anti-illegal immigrant hiring laws.
Arpaio said about 100 of his deputies were trained over five weeks to act as federal agents under the 287(g) program. They were trained on racial profiling and other civil rights laws, he said.
The new Arizona law is needed for several reasons, including that "no police official or elected official can tell the police officer that you cannot enforce immigration laws," Arpaio said. The Arizona law prohibits state and local government officials from preventing enforcement of immigration laws.
The federal government does not pay for local officers to participate in the 287(g) program. U.S. taxpayers pay the federal cost, which has grown from $5 million in 2006 to $68 million in 2010, according to the DHS inspector general. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reimburses some of the local agencies for housing immigrants in their jails. The immigrants can be in the country illegally or legally present but have committed a crime that makes them eligible for deportation.
Joanne Lin, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said it is alarming that one Arizona county is responsible for a disproportionate share of deportations.
The Los Angeles County's Sheriff's Office, a distant second to Maricopa, helped find 13,784 immigrants who were later deported or left the country. The Sheriff's Office's agreement with the federal government allows it to check its jails for deportable immigrants, but not to enforce immigration laws during street patrols. A renewal of the agreement is under negotiation.
An estimated 10.8 million people, about 26 percent of the state's population, are living illegally in California, compared with 460,000, about 12 percent, in Arizona.
"These statistics bear out that you have rogue sheriffs in certain counties that are bent on targeting immigrants," Lin said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 287(g): http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/factsheets/section287_g.htm
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