PHOENIX – Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to keep arresting suspected illegal immigrants but that does not mean the county attorney will prosecute them.
Interim Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley has a new strategy for tackling illegal immigration in Maricopa County but it sounds like Sheriff Arpaio does not like it.
Rick Romley says, “We're going to be working with the U.S. Marshal’s Office to enhance our efforts to go after those who have outstanding warrants.”
Romley says too much effort is being put forth arresting undocumented laborers and people not associated with criminal activity. He says, “Where I'm going to put the bulk of my resources is going to go after those who are hurting our people.”
The county attorney says he plans a more focused attack on organized crime like the Mexican Mafia. Romley says that should help Arizona's illegal immigration problem. “Heightened efforts need to be made to curb illegal immigration by focusing more on breaking up the criminal organizations that transport people and the businesses that facilitate these networks rather than simply on making large scale arrests.”
Specifically mentioned were Sheriff Arpaio's crime sweeps including the one from Wednesday morning, questioning if they are truly working in deterring illegal immigration or just tying up the courts.
Sheriff Arpaio had the following to say about Romley's new enforcement strategy:
“He can have all his plans he wants. I've got my plan, I've been doing it three years, he's only been in office for 30 days and he's making all these changes.”
Romley says about the sheriff. “He is the elected sheriff and I cannot tell him what to do.”
Romley's new plan also calls for an intelligence sharing program between neighboring states and the creation of a multi-state task force that will respond to cross border violence.
Romley also told 3TV that after the state's new immigration law goes into effect on July 29 he will not use a state "human smuggling" law to prosecute illegal immigrants on felony charges.
Sheriff Arpaio issued a statement saying he is against that decision.