Federal agency works with local law enforcement on illegal immigration

KINGMAN - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working with statewide law enforcement agencies to assist in enforcing immigration law.

The federal immigration agency met with the Kingman Police Department and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office last week to help determine and outline their roles in assisting the agency.

"Just like any other agency, we're going to try the best we can providing information," KPD Chief Robert DeVries said.

DeVries said the extent of KPD's involvement with ICE is providing information to the agency following the normal enforcement of the law against criminal activity.

"Really, it's not much different than what we've done in the past," DeVries said.

According to DeVries, ICE has set up a 90-day detail consisting of an investigative team in the area, as well as in Flagstaff.

He said at the end of the detail ICE would review its success, address needs and determine if a full-time detail is necessary for this area.

MCSO will have a greater involvement with ICE, according to Sheriff Tom Sheahan.

ICE will be training deputies on handling illegal immigrants and businesses that employee illegal immigrants.

"The pressure is on them, especially from Washington (D.C.), to work with local law enforcement," Sheahan said.

Sheahan said there is no timeline for the six deputies from MCSO to receive training, but hopes all training will be done locally.

He said the goal is to train all agencies at the same time, and it might be six months before an agreed time could be coordinated.

Sheahan said that Interstate 40 and Highway 93 are heavy corridors for smuggling illegal immigrants.

According to Sheahan, MCSO has arrested more than 50 illegal immigrants in Mohave County since November.

"We're on top of the problem," Sheahan said.

Sheahan said 37 illegal immigrants have been turned over to border patrol in Blythe, but 17 are still awaiting processing through the court system.

"The border patrol has been doing a good job of coming to Mohave County to pick up illegal immigrants," Sheahan said.

Sheahan added that MCSO has gotten more intensified information from citizens, ICE and border patrol on illegal immigrants' activities in the area.