Phoenix Delays Sanctuary Policy Amid Mounting Pressure After JW Report
JULY 17, 2017
Days after Judicial Watch exposed a new policy banning Phoenix police from contacting the feds after arresting illegal aliens, alarming pressure on the city council and chief of police has forced officials in Arizona’s largest city to postpone the order. Crafted at a Hispanic advisory committee that promotes open borders, the policy also prohibits officers from asking about suspects’ immigration status. The new policy’s two principle measures violate key provisions of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and leave the city vulnerable to costly lawsuits.
In the aftermath of Judicial Watch’s story, which included a copy of the Phoenix sanctuary Immigration Procedures, police management is backing off and reconsidering the ramifications. Sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Judicial Watch that Phoenix Police Department brass is worried about getting sued under an Arizona law that states the following: “No official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may limit or restrict the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” The measure also states this: “If an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States is convicted of a violation of state or local law, on discharge from imprisonment or on the assessment of any monetary obligation that is imposed, the United States immigration and customs enforcement or the United States customs and border protection shall be immediately notified.”
Following Judicial Watch’s initial report, the chief of the Phoenix Police Department, Jeri Williams, issued an unusual and unprecedented Employee Notification System (ENS) delaying the new sanctuary order. The ENS was titled “Operations Order 4.48 Revision” and states the following: “Operations Order 4.48, which provides direction regarding immigration related issues, is still being reviewed and revised. The anticipated effective date, July 10th, 2017, is no longer achievable. The final revisions should be completed within the coming weeks. A new effective date will be shared once the policy has been finalized.” Williams is Phoenix’s first female police chief and agency sources tell Judicial Watch she tried to quietly implement the sanctuary measures, perhaps hoping they’d go unnoticed. Earlier this year the chief, who was hired last summer, alluded to her stance on immigration enforcement in a local newspaper article questioning whether Arizona’s 325,000 illegal aliens trust the police. Chief Williams is quoted saying this: “We maintain open communication with our diverse residents and want to ensure that our crime victims and witnesses feel comfortable and confident when reporting crimes to our officers. As your chief, I commit to you that racial profiling will not be tolerated.”
The Phoenix Police Department has about 3,000 officers that were permitted to use “sound judgement” at any time under the agency’s longtime immigration enforcement policy. That allowed front-line officers to directly contact federal immigration officials involving criminal illegal immigrants. Under the revised policy, all contact with federal immigration partners must be funneled through a single Violent Crimes Bureau (VCB) desk