Some excerpts from the Republic article -
Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday promised that his deputies will continue to enforce immigration law despite the lack of a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that authorizes immigration enforcement on the streets and in the jails.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote today on a new agreement that would authorize deputies to continue an immigration-enforcement program in Maricopa County jails.
Arpaio said he would continue enforcing immigration law on the streets thanks to an opinion from County Attorney Andrew Thomas that allows suspected illegal immigrants to be charged as co-conspirators in their own smuggling. Sheriff's officials said deputies also would rely on a provision of the federal criminal code that allows local law enforcement to detain someone for "brief warrantless interrogation" where circumstances indicate the person could be in the country illegally.
"I am free of the federal government," Arpaio said.
The decision to remove part of an agreement that authorized street-level immigration enforcement from deputies but allow such enforcement to continue in the jails was a political ploy from Washington, D.C., Arpaio said.
Since 2007, the Sheriff's Office has operated under an umbrella agreement authorizing the street-level enforcement and jail operations, but ICE officials announced in July that all the contracts with local law-enforcement agencies were under review. Federal Officials have come under pressure from civil-rights, labor, religious and pro-immigrant groups to end the program, known as 287(g), because of racial-profiling fears.
Arpaio said he was prepared to sign a new umbrella agreement, which stressed a focus on enforcing immigration laws only in cases of serious crimes. But an ICE official presented the sheriff with a contract that would authorize the operations only in the jails.
A canvass of agencies in the U.S. with both street-level and jail-enforcement agreements indicated that ICE's decision to remove the street-level provision with the Sheriff's Office was unique.
The agreement Arpaio signed means deputies shouldn't be able to conduct immigration screenings on the street and will have to take suspects to ICE, where federal agents can determine if the people meet the criteria for detention and removal.
Arpaio vowed to continue the crime-suppression operations, promising a sweep in two weeks.
The interaction with ICE during the last sweep could give insight into the practical impact of Arpaio losing the street-level agreement. When sheriff's posse members and deputies descended on Chandler in July, federal immigration agents would not take custody of nine suspected illegal immigrants who were not suspected of other crimes.
The new ICE task-force agreement includes provisions that detail the types of immigrants and severity of crimes agents should target, starting with offenses such as murder and kidnapping in Level 1; moving to property crimes in Level 2 and leaving a broad category of undefined "other offenses" in Level 3.
Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Franks from Arizona and Texas Rep. Lamar Smith issued a statement supporting Arpaio's theory that the ICE agreement was political.
"Instead of launching a politicized attack against a local law official who has yielded great success with the 287(g) program, the Obama Administration should replicate the success we have experienced in Maricopa County in other areas that are desperately in need of similar solutions," the joint statement read.