Did Sheriff Joe jump the gun on announcement about illegal-immigration enforcement?

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by Javier Soto and Catherine Holland

Bio | Email | Follow: @JavierSotoTV

azfamily.com

Posted on October 7, 2009 at 6:46 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 8 at 1:45 AM

PHOENIX -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the feds are taking away from of his power when it comes to fighting illegal immigration. But is he jumping the gun? 

Arpaio says federal officials wouldn't let him renew a deal to let his deputies make federal immigration arrests. At a news conference Tuesday, Arpaio said his department was stripped of its 287g status. But some people are now wondering if that announcement was a preemptive strike.

"We can see that they just don't want this sheriff to investigate and arrest illegal aliens," Arpaio said during that news conference. "The bottom line is they're bringing politics into it."

Over the past year, Arpaio's department, which has made more than 30,000 arrests of undocumented immigrants, has come under fire for allegedly using the 287g program to racially profile. Arpaio has categorically denied those allegations.

A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to comment on the curtailment of Arpaio's powers, but Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says all of the 287g agreements are being reviewed.

"Sheriff Arpaio is one of several dozen [287g agreements] we have around the country. Those reviews are under way. No decisions ... have been made," she said. "I think, if anything, the sheriff's statement is premature."

Napolitano said Arpaio is not being singled out. His department is one of nearly 70 throughout the country that is under review.

Later this morning, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will review the 287g program and vote on whether to keep it in place in Maricopa County.

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