Sheriff continues immigration sweep in West Valley; 93 arrests made on Day 1

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PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched his latest immigration sweep Thursday in the West Valley.

The sheriff's deputies are focusing their efforts in the area between the 101 and I-17, from McDowell Road up to Glendale Avenue.

Much of west Phoenix, Glendale and Peoria are being covered in the sweep.

On Thursday 93 people were arrested in the sweep, and officers suspect about 63 of them of them are illegal immigrants.

The illegal immigrant arrests were made during six separate vehicle stops for traffic violations and were found to be
smuggling illegals out of the Phoenix-metro to other locations of the country.

Arpaio said the sweep had been planned weeks ago, and he maintained that it had nothing to do with the heated debate over the new immigration law.

Nonetheless, Arpaio did speak about the portion of the law which states that officers must have "reasonable suspicion" to check someone's immigration status. While critics say it opens the door to racial profiling, Arpaio said it involved more than skin color.

"You get a little suspicion that they may be here illegal when they don't have any identification, they don't speak the language, and I could go on and on," Arpaio said after the arrests were made.

Protesters turned out at the command post in south Phoenix to voice their opinions too.

The crime and immigration sweeps continue Friday beginning at 4 p.m. and into the evening.