Sheriff says ICE reluctant to enforce “Papers please”

Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher acknowledged the validity of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s recent complaint that federal agents are slow to cooperate in the enforcement of Arizona’s immigration law if the suspect is not apprehended for a serious crime.

“If we make a traffic stop (and find the driver is here illegally), ICE may not want to come take custody of that suspect,” said Mascher. According to the sheriff, this reluctance “frustrates the deputies who are just trying to enforce state law.”

There have been other cases of ICE not taking action, Mascher said, almost always because suspects were not apprehended for a serious crime. He gave the example of a cleaning service that accidentally set off an alarm in an office. Deputies arrived, found they were, indeed, an authorized cleaning crew, but that one or more of the crew members were here illegally. ICE did not come for the undocumented individuals.

Mascher said, in his experience, ICE does deport suspects involved with criminal activities, particularly narcotics trafficking. He said that the effect of the law has been diluted by the federal government’s reluctance.

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