Sheriff Paul Penzone says end of Title 42 ‘challenging’ for Arizona law enforcement

May 11, 2023, 8:38 AM | Updated: 8:41 am

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone speaks during a press conference about border and immigration ...

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone speaks during a press conference about border and immigration issues on Wednesday, May 11, 2023. (Twitter Photo/@mcsoaz)

(Twitter Photo/@mcsoaz)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said Thursday’s end of Title 42 immigration restrictions will be “challenging” for law enforcement throughout Arizona.

The sheriff in Arizona’s largest county thinks federal immigration policy is too narrow and should focus more on public safety.

“There’s a humanitarian aspect to this, and we understand that and we’re willing to embrace it, but if all we focus on is the element of the humanitarian side, then we’re not focused on the public safety and the national security side of the conversation,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

The end of Title 42, which was used to curb migration in the name of protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, was expected to create a surge in people trying to enter the U.S. at the southern border.

Penzone said there needs to be a more comprehensive process than what currently exists.

“It has to include some complexities that care for those you’re putting in our community but also care for the people and law enforcement that have to address the issues in the community,” he said.

“So, it’s going to be challenging. That’s the most understated way I could express it.”

Penzone said immigration policy impacts law enforcement throughout the state, regardless of the distance from the border.

“If you’re on the border, you’re right there at the point of impact, so you’re trying to either stand off the surge of migrants who are coming across the border,” he said.

Penzone said the policy of allowing asylum seekers into the country to await immigration hearings can create different issues further away from the border.

“Now you’re just dealing with a situation where you have people who are unlawfully in the country but given that lawful state to stay until their court date, but they can’t work or they can’t do other things that care for themselves or their families to provide housing or shelter, food, any of the basic necessities,” he said.

“So how would you expect them to be law abiding to meet our expectations and respect the rule of law if that is the foundation for how they’re in our country?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sheriff Paul Penzone says end of Title 42 ‘challenging’ for Arizona law enforcement