The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested 72 people during a three-day crime sweep in Chandler and Queen Creek southeast of Phoenix.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the operation started as an attempt to control illegal immigration, but new federal guidelines prevent deputies from arresting illegal immigrants solely for being in the U.S. illegally.
The sheriff’s office says it released three illegal immigrants from custody on July 23 and seven on July 24 based on instruction from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The first two days of the operation resulted in 68 arrests, including 14 illegal immigrants who committed a civil or criminal violation and the 10 who were released.
Of the 72 total people arrested, 25 were illegal immigrants.