Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sheriff’s office sees drop in illegal immigrant arrests (Mohave Daily News)

Sheriff’s office sees drop in illegal immigrant arrests

By JIM SECKLER/The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:06 AM MDT

KINGMAN — More than a year after Arizona’s immigration bill was signed into law, the number of arrests of illegal immigrants has decreased.

Experts say the drop in the number of illegal immigrants being arrested is due to the slow economy as well as the state law known as SB-1070. Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB-1070 into law in April 2010. The law was supposed to go into effect 90 days later but a federal judge issued an injunction, blocking parts of the new law.

According to the Mohave County Sheriff Office, sheriff’s deputies arrested 240 illegal immigrants in 2008 and 210 illegal immigrants in 2009. In 2010, 80 illegal immigrants were captured in the county. So far in 2011, about 30 have been arrested for being illegally in the country, mostly during traffic stops. Many illegal immigrants who are stopped are traveling in vans in groups of about eight, MCSO spokeswoman Trish Carter said.

Sheriff Tom Sheahan previously said the decrease may be because of the nation’s bad economy and lack of construction jobs in the county and the state as well as SB-1070.

Mohave County’s seasonal unadjusted unemployment rate for March was 10.9 percent. In April 2010, the county’s seasonal adjusted unemployment rate was 10.8 percent. In April 2009, the county’s unemployment rate was about 9.6 percent. The unemployment rate in the county in 2008 was 5.4 percent.

In the past, border patrol agents from the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement would pick up the illegal immigrant for deportation. Under the new law, sheriff’s deputies will book the illegal immigrant into county jail until they face a judge in either justice or municipal court. SB 1070 makes it a misdemeanor to be in the country illegally.

The cost to house an arrested suspect in the new county jail was increased by the county supervisors at the April board meeting to $98.74 a day per prisoner. There is also a one time booking fee of $65 for each inmate booked into jail.

After SB-1070 was passed, sheriff deputies were trained on aspects of the new law through a video produced by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training board. The video explained the law and dealt with the issue of racial profiling.

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