Arizona state police will team with federal agents to take illegal entrants off the hands of local police – a move designed to end the practice of “catch and release,” reports Capital Media Services. The plan unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Janet Napolitano involves a dozen officers of the Department of Public Safety who will be specially cross trained to enforce federal immigration laws. They will be paired in vans with agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Under the state-federal agreement, these teams will respond when local police encounter someone who is not in this country legally but find that no federal immigration officer is available to pick the person up. Since local police can’t enforce federal immigration laws, the person can’t legally be held while cops await an immigration officer. These two-person teams also will target what DPS spokesman Rick Knight called “violent human traffickers.” For now, the state effort will involve only Maricopa County, although authorities said it will be expanded statewide if successful.