Troopers discovered 17 immigrants riding inside a van near I-10 and Ray Road, DPS said on April 16.
The trooper issued traffic violations to the driver, a U.S. citizen, and impounded the vehicle. The undocumented immigrants were then released after ICE and Border Patrol declined to take custody of them.
Governor Doug Ducey issued a statement on the incident, criticizing the Biden administration's handling of border issues.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement on the incident saying, "ICE continues to implement the interim guidance on civil immigration enforcement priorities directed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to focus its limited resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety. ICE will continue to carry out is duty to enforce the laws of the United States in accordance with the Department’s national security, border security and public safety mission."
In a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency said, "On April 16, 2021 CBP's Tucson Border Patrol Sector received a referral from an Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) vehicle stop in Chandler, AZ. Due to the distance from the border and all available Agents actively engaged in multiple ongoing interdiction efforts, Tucson Sector referred DPS to ICE Enforcement Removal Operations who have assets stationed in the Phoenix metropolitan area."
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