Arizona Officials React To New DHS Order Expanding Immigration Enforcement

Officers with Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and some local police agencies would have greater latitude to deport immigrants under policies laid out by the Department of Homeland Security. (Photo by Cronkite News)

By Sophia Kunthara

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered more aggressive enforcement of detainment and deportation laws for undocumented immigrants, prioritizing those with criminal convictions but putting anyone in the U.S. illegally at risk of expulsion.

The memos, which were released Tuesday morning by Homeland Secretary John Kelly, detail how agencies should implement the detainment and deportation provisions introduced in President Donald Trump’s campaign messages. They exclude those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalsprogram, which grants temporary protection to immigrants who were brought into the country before the age of 16 and who meet several program criteria. But the Trump administration crackdown applies to others who are undocumented.

Former President Barack Obama placed deportation priority on undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes. Trump’s plan prioritizes those with any criminal conviction and takes it a step further by instructing agents to detain anyone in violation of immigration laws and begin the deportation process.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, said the DHS orders show the Trump administration is targeting the immigrant community and called the policies outlined in the memo “un-American.”

“These new guidelines tell us one thing: the Trump administration is willing to go after just about any member of the immigrant community,” Gallego said in a statement. “Last week, ICE arrested a DACA recipient and continues to hold him in custody without showing sufficient cause for his detention. Now the administration releases guidelines that lay the groundwork for mass deportation and tries to sell it to the American people as business-as-usual. This is far from the truth.”

Gallego also claimed the policies could impact those who have not yet been convicted of a crime.

“Under these new rules, ICE can go after people who have not been found guilty of committing a crime and remove them from the country within days of their arrest,” according to the statement. “It also strips anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of many due process protections. These are not the values our country was founded on.”

The memos expand authority to local and state law enforcement to assist immigration officers. Any qualifying local or state agency that wants to participate in ICE’s 287(g) program, which essentially gives participants the authority of immigration agents. The Mesa Police Department, Yavapai and Pinal County Sheriff’s Offices and the Arizona Department of Corrections are the only agencies in the state that currently participate.

Mark Casey, director of public information for Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, said the agency wouldn’t comment on the memoranda Tuesday, but he emphasized that MCSO’s priority was to keep the county safe and figure out citizenship issues later. He added that the agency would do what the law requires and would not do raids or target people because of their skin color.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery spoke about the memoranda on Wednesday morning, clarifying what action will be taken by Maricopa County jails.

“In circumstances where we have a state court order to release someone from the jail, they have to be released and you can’t hold them on the basis of a civil immigration retainer,” Montgomery said. “You can communicate with ICE that we’ve got the state court order and someone’s going to be processed for release, and you can cooperate the transfer of custody of someone once they’ve been released from state custody.”

The order also calls for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, along with 500 Air and Marine agents. It also instructs ICE to hire 10,000 more agents and officers.

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Sedona, acknowledged the need for immigration reform, but indicated that separating families was not part of the solution.

“It is imperative that the administration works with Congress to find a solution that secures our borders, protects our communities and creates a pathway to citizenship for those who wish to come to our country legally,” O’Halleran said in an email statement. “We should be focused on expanding the use of 21st century technology along our borders; not tearing apart families and ruining the lives of immigrants in our country.”

The DHS order ends “catch and release” programs at the border, saying they “undermine the border security mission.” It also calls for a wall to be built along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The memos, which also establish an office within ICE for victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, state detention will prevent further crimes by undocumented immigrants.

“Detention also prevents such aliens from committing crimes while at large in the United States, ensures that aliens will appear for their removal proceedings, and substantially increases the likelihood that aliens lawfully ordered removed will be removed,” Kelly wrote in a memo.

Republican members of Arizona’s Congressional delegation did not respond to our requests for comment.


  1. Paul Fitch’s explanation hit the nail on the head. When you break the law, the consequences can have far reaching families/friends. When drug addicts use/sale their products, they can lose their cars, homes and families. The principle is the same even tho’ many liberals will deny it.

  2. The Hispanic Dems REALLLLY need some new leaders. Obama promised immigration reform in 2008 and though he had control of both Houses of Congress he refused to get it done. Why? Because he never saw a tragedy he would fix if not fixing it allowed him to exploit it (and it`s victims) in future elections. Obama is out of office (yes, it`s true, even for those who refuse to admit it) but he seems bound and determined to force the Dem Party to continue on this course until he completely destroys the Dem Pty. A heartfelt thank you, Mr. Obama!

  3. Liberalism is a mental illness. For some reason, they cannot discern the difference between legal and illegal immigration. The media never seems to be able to put the words illegal and immigrant in the same sentence. I am baffled by such stupidity/ hypocrisy).

  4. Looked up Mexico’s Immigration Laws, whew, they disagree with the US? They really believe that we are “stupido gringos” and they are not far from the truth.! With that sheriff in Phoenix releasing all those criminals from Mexico. Gee, what a guy! a real friend of Mexico and a betrayer of US citizens.

  5. Do these people not target themselves by being here illegally to begin with, then furthering this by committing crimes? Not only have they not taken the proper steps to become legal, but adversely effected themselves and the U.S. by becoming dependent on our welfare systems. How does any of this have a positive impact on our country and our citizens? As mentioned above, crime separates all sorts of families. This is not exclusive to illegal immigrants. Mexico, I have read, said they do not accept the new policies. That it does not serve Mexico’s best interest. BAM ! Whats good for the goose is good for the gander. They don’t want to improve the quality of their own citizens lives? This needs to change. They are being served up a big helping of their own logic…

  6. Tearing families apart is a sad but necessary element of crime prevention and punishment. Bank robbers do get to stay on the street just because they have families. People who break into other people’s houses don’t get to stay on the street just because they have a wife and kids.

    We are supposed to be a “Nation of Laws” and if we are to remain so, we must have laws and we must enforce those laws are the whole thing becomes a big joke.

    I’m not keen on DACA, but accept that children are not responsible for the actions of their parents, BUT THE PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT THEY DO TO THEIR CHILDREN. Forcing their children to break the law is wrong. If “losing” their children because of being deported occurs, that’s the fault of the parents, not an inhumane UN-AMERICAN action by civil authorities.

    Much of the pain that the illegal invaders will suffer is, sadly, because of the lax attitude of our so called leaders who did not enforce the immigration laws as written and thus led these illegal invaders to believe that they could come into our country without penalty “because so many others before them had been able to do so”.

    I really do recognize the pain this bringing back into focus the execution of the law will bring to some, but this is what happens when you ignore the warning signs of an impending catastrophe and allow it to grow out of control.

  7. have a read of the “Mexican” Immigration laws and rules, what happens to illegals in Mexico. See if those fit all those laws of humanity the left seems to be touting as the ‘higher ground’. I’m not for wholesale deportation, I am for restructure of the immigration policy, with that door they’ve been vaguely mentioning – soon the better – build that door asap, then start the wall next to it…

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