As Yavapai County Sheriff, my top priority is public safety. As such, I would like to address the call to “abolish ICE” by a minority of elected officials.
In 2003, Congress created Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE), as part of the Department of Homeland Security, with a mission to protect national security and public safety in answer to the tragic events on 9/11. Since Arizona is a border state with Mexico, our federal, state and local law enforcement agencies continue to see large amounts of criminal activity involving those crossing our border illegally.
Across the state, sheriffs are working together to assist in border security issues as part of Gov. Doug Ducey’s Border Strike Force, partnering with ICE and the U.S. Border Patrol. Since 2015, Border Strike Force operations led to the seizure of over 60,000 pounds of marijuana, 295 firearms, 173,000 rounds of ammunition, over 50 million hits of heroin, and 2,370 pounds of the highly potent opioid fentanyl, as noted by the Governor in a recent press conference.
Additionally, more than 3,200 arrests have been made since its creation in 2015. I commend the results of the work at the border that prevents drugs and criminals from reaching Yavapai County and victimizing our citizens.
Another aspect of ICE many may not be aware of has a direct impact on public safety in Yavapai County and Northern Arizona in general. My office has worked directly with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Division and our local law enforcement partners to catch criminals targeting underage girls for sex, and those willing to create and distribute child pornography in this county.
Sex trafficking is a critical concern in this state and our county, and the resources ICE brings to the table are invaluable in the fight to prevent harm to our children.
I know firsthand that the work of ICE, in partnership with local law enforcement, has played a critical role in preventing crime and arresting dangerous felons, many times criminals here illegally, who otherwise may not have been caught without the assistance of ICE officers.
We should be supporting the work of these officers and what they do to keep dangerous criminals and drugs off our streets. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office stands with the men and women of ICE.
Scott Mascher has been the Yavapai County Sheriff since June 2011. Previously, he was a certified deputy for 32 years and volunteered for three.