PHOENIX, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announced a major change to the way the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deals with undocumented immigrants that are being held in the county's jails.
The change was announced in a surprise news conference Friday evening, where Penzone said there will be no more "courtesy holds" made by MCSO, as Penzone said the office no longer has the authority to hold an individual after the court rules, regardless of their immigration status.
"ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will have to take a more aggressive position on how they're going to act on those who are in violation of Federal law, as we continue to enforce State law," said Penzone, during the news conference.
During the news conference, Penzone said he was advised by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office that it was necessary to make changes to the current practice, regarding courtesy holds for immigration violations.
"We are currently addressing a considerable debt to this community of over $150 Million in civil rights violations that they're challenging in the two court orders imposed on this office by the federal courts," said Penzone.
Penzone said the decision to end courtesy holds will take effect immediately. Penzone also detailed what will happen in place of courtesy holds, from here forward.
"At the point when the courts advise us when we have a legal obligation to release them from our custody, ICE will get the notification if it's someone they have an interest in whether to speak to them further or address them through their authority, and as we take the process to release them from our custody, ICE will have the opportunity to impose their authority on that individual. We no longer have the authority," said Penzone.
Penzone made it clear during the news conference that ICE officers will remain in all jails.
In the year 2016, 2,581 people who were arrested and were in the country illegally were released to ICE. This year, the number is 249 people.
Penzone said the change had nothing to do with Donald Trump.