The Spectacle Blog

Arizona, Immigration, and the Feds

By on 6.26.12 | 2:47PM

Yesterday Jeff noted that the Obama administration had suspended its 287(g) immigration enforcement parternship with the state of Arizona, in an apparent slap at the portion of SB 1070 that the Supreme Court actually upheld. These are the agreements that deputize state and local law enforcement officers to help enforce immigration laws and give them access to federal immigration databases.

Sean Higgins over at Investor's Business Daily reports that two former Arizona attorneys general -- one Democrat and one Republican -- think the suspension will have little impact. (It should be noted, however, that neither are exactly SB 1070 fans. Grant Woods, the Republican, nevertheless said there were some benefits to the program:

Ultimately, it is unfortunate because there were a lot of good things that came out of these joint operations ... Joint operations worked on gangs and human smuggling. They were very helpful at the jails, trying to sort out who’s who and who’s legal. All very important functions. So the absence of the federal agreement in that regard will be a negative for Arizona.

Democrat Terry Goddard, who lost the 2010 gubernatorial election to Jan Brewer, said this was in keeping with the Obama administration's enforcement priorities.

I think ICE made it pretty clear. ICE won’t come out if it is a routine stop for somebody that may or may not be in this country legally but (is) not a career criminal, not repeat immigration offender or not a brand new crosser. If it is not in those three categories, ICE has said, ‘We are overwhelmed, guys. We have got far more customers than we can handle.’ ... So you can report but they may not respond.

Ironically, federal cooperation with state and local authorities has been a big part of how the Obama administration has been able to boast of impressive-sounding deportation statistics. Many of the removals have been criminal aliens already in state or local custody.

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