Illegal immigrants committing fewer crimes.

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX - Illegal immigrants are committing fewer crimes in Maricopa County.

But it's a trend some say could end.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas says the number of illegal immigrants sentenced for felonies in Maricopa County dropped 18 ½ percent from 2007 to 2008.

The County Attorney also says a report for the Center for Immigration studies shows the number of undocumented workers in Arizona has declined 30 percent in just two years.

Thomas claims Sheriff Joe Arpaio's so-called crime sweeps have led to the drop in crime.

“This is the latest evidence that the population of illegal immigrants in Maricopa County is shrinking because of law enforcement crackdowns,” Thomas said. “This is causing a reduction in the number of illegal immigrants convicted of crimes as that pool continues to shrink. These numbers show that crackdowns on illegal immigrants work.”

However, Thomas said if the federal government takes away Sheriff Arpaio's power to enforce U.S. immigration laws it sends the message that it will be easier to enter Arizona illegally.