The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.
Federal officials said they’ll still perform the checks as required by law but will respond only when someone has a felony conviction on his or her record. Absent that, ICE will tell the local police to release the person.
“We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities,” one official said in a telephone briefing.
The official said that despite the increased number of calls, which presumably means more illegal immigrants being reported, the Homeland Security Department is unlikely to detain a significantly higher number of people and won’t be boosting personnel to handle the new calls.
“We do not plan on putting additional staff on the ground in Arizona,” the official said.
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