Arizona

Jul 14, 2012 3:13 PM

Feds scale back Phoenix immigration unit

PHOENIX (AP) - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has scaled back its unit in Phoenix that answers calls from local law enforcement to identify and deport illegal immigrants.

The Arizona Republic reports the move comes just as local police prepare to start enforcing Arizona's immigration law.

In June, the federal agency began reassigning members of the unit to help round up illegal immigrants in others states.

Human smuggling activity in the Phoenix area is down and the agency has been shifting priorities to focus on deporting the most dangerous illegal immigrants.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson says no change has been noticed yet in the agency's ability or willingness to response.

Still, some police agencies that call on federal immigration authorities regularly are concerned the unit may not respond as quickly, possibly forcing them to let suspected illegal immigrants go.

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