PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that it has arrested 35 more undocumented immigrants, bringing the 30-day total to 141.
According to MCSO, the Tuesday night's arrests came after three separate traffic stops in the far North Valley. Deputies from the Human Smuggling Unit identified and stopped the vehicles. Most of the suspects were booked on state human smuggling charges, which is a Class 4 felony.
Last week, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched a new program that will give nearly 900 sworn deputies training in detecting and arresting undocumented immigrants. Arpaio's goal with the program is to educate his deputies about enforcing state and federal immigration laws.
Last October, the Department of Homeland Security stripped Arpaio and his department of the authority to arrest suspected illegal immigrants based only on their immigration status. According to MCSO, Homeland Security said Arpaio's controversial crime sweeps "were not consistent with their priorities."
In a demonstration wrought with symbolism, Arpaio had nearly 100 deputies, each of whom underwent more than a month of special training, turn in their ICE credentials after the DHS decision, putting the wallets, quite literally, on ice.
Since the DHS announcement, Arpaio has plainly stated that he will continue conducting his crime suppression sweeps.
“I will not back down to pressures from the federal government, open-border activists, and politicians who choose to ignore this problem for fear of offending certain groups of people. This illegal immigration problem is serious and has the potential to affect everyone,” Arpaio stated in a news release.
Arpaio said he believes his new training program will lead to even more arrests.