Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone Changes Procedure For ICE Detainers

On February 17, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announced he would no longer detain County jail inmates facing a civil immigration detainer beyond the period of time for detention authorized under Arizona State law on the advice of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

The County’s decision to no longer cooperate with federal agents could have put ICE agents at risk.

The decision by Penzone and County Attorney Bill Montgomery sparked outrage and on Friday, Penzone announced that he was once again changing the policy.

“To act as a responsible law enforcement partner we immediately established new protocols regarding notification of detainees of interest by ICE. When MCSO jail personnel receive notice from the court to process inmates for release, we immediately notify ICE Agents. This notification usually occurs 5-7 hours prior to completion of the release process. We again notify ICE of 15 minutes prior to the completion of the release process. This practice was intended to facilitate the opportunity for ICE to detain individuals as they were released from our custody. Although we continued to communicate with ICE, we also prioritized research for options to address concerns regarding public safety and the safety of ICE agents. We met with ICE leadership to determine an acceptable solution to facilitate transfer of detainees. I requested a legal review by Bill Montgomery and the MCAO to ensure our practice would be legal and constitutional,” said Penzone in a statement issued Friday.

Penzone claims that he “was advised it is within our legal authority to permit the transfer of custody of individuals who are deemed in violation of federal immigration law to ICE Agents inside the Maricopa County Jail facilities.”

Now, Penzone says that “ICE will be responsible to respond to the appropriate MCSO detention center prior to the completion of the release process. Upon transfer of custody at the conclusion of release detention, the detainee will become the responsibility of ICE and will be immediately transferred from Maricopa County Jails to a detention center under ICE’s authority. MCSO will not detain individuals beyond the legal limit and conclusion of their release process. Should ICE fail to respond prior to completion of the process, we will be legally obligated to release them consistent with the court’s order.”

According to a Judicial Watch report, “An average of 400 “criminal illegal immigrants” are being released every 10 days” by Penzone “many of them violent offenders.”

“Under a longtime partnership between the county and the feds, the Phoenix field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was notified when “aliens unlawfully present with additional Arizona charges” were released from the Maricopa County Jail, which is one of the nation’s largest with a population of about 8,000. That ended when Penzone, who refers to illegal immigrants as “guests,” took office this year and, though he formally announced the change last week, it was put into practice much earlier,” reports Judicial Watch.

“When Penzone announced the new policy at a press conference last week, ICE issued a statement calling it an “immediate, dangerous change.” The agency’s Phoenix director for enforcement and removal operations, Enrique Lucero, was quoted in local media saying: “Immigration detainers have been a successful enforcement tool to prevent the release of dangerous criminals to our streets and mitigate the possibility of future crimes being committed against the residents of our communities,” reads the Judicial Watch report.

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  1. Sheriff Joe was following the law and he had the interests of innocent law-abiding citizens at heart. Glad to see this Democrat now agrees with Sheriff Joe. But we need one of Sheriff Joe’s men to take over after this liberal Penzone.

  2. A vindictive Obama figures out a way
    to remove Sheriff Joe.

    Result: immediate increased costs in the
    Sheriff’s Department, and an increase in
    crime in Maricopa County.

    This is part of Obama’s “successful” legacy.

  3. As far as I am concerned, Sheriff Pendejo is responsible for any crimes committed by any willfully released illegal criminals! Hope to heck he can’t sleep nights after one of his “guests” harms someone,legal or not.

  4. Wonder how Penzone’s hemorrhoids feel. He and the MC attorney got their little feel good order for the ILLEGALS shoved where the sun don’t shine. Phoenix has turned into a liberal cesspool under the leadership of the liberals and their lackeys. They say they are not a sanctuary city but they sure as hell are. Its time to stop playing the “I don’t like the law so I won’t enforce it” game and do the right thing for the taxpayers and workers of this country. Just do it and don’t worry about the “its only for a better life crowd.” They don’t have a clue anyway. I just love it when the liberals get their butts kicked and are proved wrong. In this case these two idiots so richly deserved it. The Obama administration got their wish, they got rid of Sheriff Joe and got in a liberal dumbass. Just look at what they Feds under Obama along with the ACLU have done to the law enforcement agencies in Chicago and Baltimore just to name two.

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