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Arizona DPS says ICE, Border Patrol wouldn’t take custody of 17 migrants

(Arizona Department of Transportation Traffic Camera via Twitter/@Arizona_DPS)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Public Safety said it released 17 people who were in the country illegally after they were found during a traffic stop Friday morning because federal authorities wouldn’t help.

DPS said in a series of tweets that a trooper conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 10 near Ray Road in the Chandler/Ahwatukee area just after 6 a.m.

The trooper learned that the driver was a U.S. citizen and the vehicle was carrying 17 migrants, DPS spokesman Bart Graves told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“DPS requested assistance from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Border Patrol to take custody of the undocumented aliens, but both agencies declined the request,” Graves said.

Because DPS has no jurisdiction over immigration, the department said the trooper released the subjects after writing citations for traffic violations and impounding the vehicle.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection told KTAR News 92.3 FM that its Tucson Border Patrol Sector was unable to help at the time it received the referral.

“Due to the distance from the border and all available Agents actively engaged in multiple ongoing interdiction efforts, Tucson Sector referred DPS to ICE Enforcement Removal Operations who have assets stationed in the Phoenix metropolitan area,” CBP spokesman Rob Daniels told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Additionally, in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM, ICE officials said its officers were unable to immediately respond at the time of the incident. When ICE officers later arrived on the scene, the detainees had already been released.

Gov. Doug Ducey released a statement about the incident in which he continued his ongoing assault on the Biden administration’s immigration and border security policies.

In it, he called for President Joe Biden to deploy the National Guard to the border and said the state would “take matters into our own hands” if necessary.

Here is Ducey’s full statement:

“The Biden/Harris administration needs to get its head out of the sand when it comes to the crisis at our border. This lack of action defies all logic, and flies in the face of the law. This administration is asleep at the switch, and their total lack of action is having real consequences here in the state of Arizona.

“I’ve met with our Border Patrol and they need help, and they need the support of the administration. It’s time for the White House to act and do its job so the dedicated law enforcement officials on the ground have the resources, support and direction they desperately need. I’m hopeful that our United States Senators and Congressional delegation will join me in calling for the President to deploy the National Guard to our border.

“If the federal government isn’t going to do its job, then Arizona will take matters into our own hands and provide support to sheriffs and local law enforcement. The policies of the Biden/Harris administration are inhumane to those seeking legitimate humanitarian relief, and do nothing but empower those that pose a serious threat to public safety, including drug cartels and human traffickers.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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