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Arizona legislator questions legality of Phoenix police immigration policy

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PHOENIX — An Arizona lawmaker has asked the state attorney general to look into whether Phoenix police were violating provisions of a controversial immigration law after adopting policy changes earlier this summer.

Republican Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) said Friday that changes the department adopted in July illegally restrict enforcing part of SB 1070, which went into effect in 2010.

Kavanagh specifically was concerned that officers no longer inquire about a person’s immigration status.

Draft revisions of the policy came as a result of recommendations from a Phoenix City Council subcommittee formed by Mayor Greg Stanton in February.

The policy amendments that were implemented were not going to change how police interact with a suspect, regardless of immigration status.

All arrested individuals have their immigration status verified by the federal government before they’re released, under Arizona law and forbids school resource officers on campus from asking anyone immigration questions or contacting federal immigration agents.

Kavanagh has asked the state attorney general to review the policy under a 2016 law allowing a single lawmaker to trigger an investigation.

If Attorney General Mark Brnovich decides the policy conflicts with state law, the city will have 30 days to eliminate it or face loss of state tax revenues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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