Immigrations and Customs Enforcement refused to take into custody two suspected illegal immigrants on Thursday, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
Five suspected illegal aliens were found in the desert by MCSO deputies and were found to be Mexican nationals after an interview process.
MCSO was unable to get enough evidence to charge two of the men with human smuggling and attempted to turn them over to ICE, as has been custom for about six years. However, ICE refused to take the suspects after questioning them.
“These suspects are clearly recent border crossers,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the release. “ICE’s refusal to accept the suspects for possible deportation suggests ICE is ignoring their own policy.”
The two suspects were then turned over to Border Patrol, per Arpaio’s backup plan should ICE not accept suspects.
The other three members of the group identified themselves as illegal immigrants and said they had paid $1,000 each to be smuggled into the United States. Those three were booked in the Fourth Avenue Jail.
Arpaio said he plans to meet with ICE officials to be sure a similar situation does not happen again.