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12:35 PM Sat, Dec. 15th

Editorial: Feds circumvent SB1070 ruling

It makes little sense and smacks of payback.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on SB1070, which voided most of the law but upheld the requirement that police are to ask people they stop if they are citizens, the federal government canceled its agreements with law enforcement agencies - including the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

Specifically, the high court in June let stand the provision that allows police to try to determine the immigration status of people they stop or arrest if they have a reasonable suspicion that they're in the country illegally. Yet the government has pulled training and certification that would help police accomplish that.

Now we hear late this past week that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has scaled back a unit in Phoenix that answers calls from law enforcement to identify and deport illegal immigrants.

Again, the move comes just as local authorities prepare to start enforcing Arizona's immigration law.

Concern in the Phoenix area is low, because agency statistics show the number of calls for assistance from local police has been falling steadily, according to the Associated Press. However, couple the scaling back of the ICE unit with the rescinding of the training and certification, and it leaves us wondering what the federal officials are thinking.

"Secondary to ICE's ability to respond is the concern that the Obama administration has ordered them, even if they have the personnel, not to respond to any suspected illegal immigrant unless that individual has a serious criminal record or has previously been deported. That's the number one enforcement problem," said Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who is among those who foresee potential problems.

So let's see - if you like a law, it gets enforcement muscle; if you do not, you pull resources.

Only the federal government.