It took about two weeks, but Sheriff Joe has figured out where he got the list of criteria to detain illegal immigrants.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office released a statement earlier this week that noted he will continue to use a set of indicators – including an inability to speak English, unusual appearance and the location where people are stopped – to detain people who might be illegal immigrants. The media release sent out on Oct. 21 stated that the source of those indicators was actually a training manual used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents – not federal law, as he had previously said.
The media release started out this way: “Several recent televised interviews of the sheriff have mischaracterized and confused the context of the explanation he has given of his
office’s practices and procedures. This should set the record straight.”
Arpaio noted that his office doesn’t target people of any specific nationality, and that his deputies don’t rely on any one indicator before detaining a suspected illegal immigrant. Rather, he stated that his office must have reasonable suspicion that a state law has been violated, which can lead to follow-up interrogation to develop additional indicators or facts to support detainment.
Basically, the idea is that he is going to continue using the indicators below as a tool to detain suspects:
-Does the detainee have a thick accent or not comprehend English
-Whether the individual had identification
-Is the location of the stop a known illegal alien locale
-Is the detainee’s appearance unusual or out of place in the specific locale
-Does the detainee appear to be in transit or recently traveling
-Did the detainee’s demeanor change (i.e. “freeze or take flight”) when first spotted by the officer
-Did the vehicle seem overcrowded or ride heavily
-Did the passengers in the vehicle slouch down, slump or attempt to avoid being detected in the vehicle
The handbook was used when local law enforcement officers were trained by ICE to be de-facto immigration agents. But the press release also mentioned (in the last paragraph) that the 100 MCSO deputies trained to take part in the program will have to turn over their ICE credentials soon.
MCSO apparently used these criteria during the crime-suppression sweep in Phoenix on Oct. 16-17. Sixty-six people were arrested during the sweep, including 30 illegal immigrants. Of those, 19 were turned over to ICE.
The only difference between that sweep and those that had taken place previously is that MCSO had to call ICE to come and arrest the illegal immigrants who had committed no state crimes – the sheriff’s deputies had lost the authority to do so when the Department of Homeland Security revoked part of Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement earlier this month.
If ICE continues to be on-call, then not much will change in terms of Arpaio’s ability to enforce immigration laws. But in a previous sweep, ICE had not responded when MCSO called for assistance, and now ICE says it will do so as time and resources allow. Priorities also will dictate their response; if they’re busy arresting violent criminals, they might not be available to assist Arpaio when his deputies detain people who’s only crime was being in the country without permission.
Also during the most recent crime sweep, federal investigators were present to see just how the state laws were being enforced and whether Sheriff Joe was condoning the use of racial profiling to stop people and interrogate them. The investigators were posing as journalists, which means they likely were carrying notepads, using recorders and cameras, and probably, based on my experience in newsrooms, dressed shabily.
Although the criteria for detaining people on the streets, as outlined in the ICE handbook that MCSO cited, are similar in some ways to the non-existent federal law to which Arpaio had mistakenly referred, it’s not nearly as blunt in approach. (See previous blog post http://azcapitoltimes.com/azpolicywonk/2009/10/14/sheriff-joe-a-non-existent-us-law-and-the-next-crime-sweep/)
Rather than cite the clothing people are wearing as a reason for detainment, the handbook explains that people can be stopped if they appear to be out of place. Instead of citing speech patterns that indicate foreign citizenship, the handbook explains that non-comprehension of English is sufficient.
Clearly, there is a slight but important difference between the two sets of criteria.
And there is disparity, if only in form and not substance, between citing something as U.S. law and citing something that’s in a training manual. Sheriff Joe should have known what the source was before going on TV and referring to a federal law that doesn’t exist.