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Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Paul Penzone


550 West Jackson Street Ph: 602-876-1801

Phoenix, AZ 85003 Switchboard: 602-876-1000

Secretary John F. Kelly

Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C.

On Friday, February 17, 2017, I was advised by my counsel, the Maricopa County Attorney, the
practice the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office ("MCSO") had participated in of detaining illegal
immigrants based solely on Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") courtesy detainers
was unconstitutional and illegal. First and foremost, I am a law enforcement officer and swore
an oath to uphold the United States Constitution. It has always been my position we must be
strong on issues of crime, including illegal immigration. I will not violate the law or the
constitution so the ends justify the means. Upon receiving the advice of my Counsel, I acted

I am not the only Sheriff and Maricopa is not the only County taking this position. In fact, 43 of
the 50 states have counties that cannot enforce courtesy holds due to the illegality of the
practice. 1 For far too long, local law enforcement has been forced to take a position without the
support, guidance and resources to accomplish our common goal of public safety. This issue is
far too important and has gone on far too long without a responsible, ethical and legal solution.

The federal government has requested that local and county Jaw enforcement take the
responsibility of detention and incarceration for detainees of federal immigration courtesy holds,
but has failed to address when we assume the responsibility of unlawful detentions. Across the
nation, every agency is interpreting its authority differently. Many, including my office, have
been sued and are penalized legally or monetarily due to the lack of clarity in the laws and
authority. The federal government has the ability to resolve this issue and provide guidance and

Your February 20th Memorandum regarding the President's Border Security and Immigration
Enforcement Improvements Policies encourages more local law enforcement to apply for 287(g)
status. MCSO is in a unique position and had its 287(g) status taken away prior to my term. We
are unable to reapply for 287(g) status because of a federal court order. There are other local law

"Sheriffs Still Looking for Clarity on Deportation," Tim Henderson, The PEW Charitable Trusts, February 10, 2017: ine/2017/02/10/ sheriffs-sti11-looking-for-clarity