Home > Immigration News > Phoenix Police Will Ask Arrestees About Immigration Status

Posted on February 16, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Phoenix is the latest city to try to do what the federal government refuses to do — resolve the nation’s perceived illegal immigration problems. Phoenix police will now start asking all people arrested in that city whether they are in the U.S. legally. Here are excerpts from an article in the New York Times:

The police in this city at the center of the immigration debate will soon ask all people arrested whether they are in the United States legally and will in certain cases report the information to the federal authorities, Mayor Phil Gordon announced on Friday. People stopped for civil traffic violations like speeding will not be questioned, nor will crime victims or witnesses. All those arrested on criminal charges like drunken driving and murder will be asked by officers whether they are in the United States legally. The police may decide to recommend checking by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The change includes having the police notify the immigration agency about people who are detained but not arrested who officers have “reasonable basis” to believe are illegal immigrants. A conservative legal group said the policy did not go far enough. Civil rights advocates suggested that people who appeared to be Latino or spoke with accents would be more likely to be checked than others. Hispanics make up 34 percent of Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city, with 1.5 million residents. The program departs from a policy that is more than 10 years old that bars officers from asking people about their legal status in most cases. It also sets Phoenix apart from most other big cities with large immigrant populations, including New York and Los Angeles. The police in those cities generally avoid such questions over fears that they would lead to racial profiling and discourage immigrants from cooperating with the police.

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