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GOP congressmen: Obama issues ‘declaration of war against Arizona’

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

In a strongly-worded letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Arizona’s Republican congressmen characterized the Obama administration’s decision to sever immigration enforcement agreements with local police agencies a “declaration of war against Arizona.”

The letter was issued by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s office in reaction to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision this week to rescind agreements that allowed seven Arizona law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of suspected illegal immigrants.

The letter was also signed by Reps. Trent Franks, Ben Quayle and David Schweikert.

“The violent drug cartels and human traffickers are the only ones who win under the administration’s decision,” the congressmen wrote to ICE Director John Morton, adding the decision to sever the 287(g) agreements with local law enforcers was “unconscionable.”

“The current course of action puts Arizona citizens in grave danger,” they added.

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three key provisions of the SB1070 in a June 25 ruling, DHS announced it was terminating its 287(g) task force agreements with the Arizona Department of Public Safety; the Florence, Mesa and Phoenix police departments; and the Pima, Pinal and Yavapai county sheriff’s offices. Those were the only agencies left in Arizona that had street-level 287(g) agreements.

Several Arizona police agencies also have 287(g) agreements for their jails, which allow agencies to check the immigration status of anyone booked into jail. Those agreements will remain in place.

In addition to the revocation of the 287(g) agreements, DHS announced that its agents would not respond to the scene of calls from Arizona law enforcement officers who want the agency to take custody of illegal immigrants, unless those suspects met the criteria it established for its enforcement priorities.

DHS said its prioritizes illegal immigrants who are convicted criminals, deportees who have returned to the United States, and people who have recently crossed the border illegally.

DHS in December revoked the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s 287(g) task force agreement in response to allegations from the U.S. Department of Justice that the agency and Sheriff Joe Arpaio engaged in widespread racial profiling and civil rights violations against Latinos.


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