Immigration Holds at Maricopa County Jail Top Nation

Maricopa County is in the news again for its anti-immigrant practices. A study released last week by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found that Maricopa County Jail holds the title for most immigration holds in the country. The study also found that of the nearly one million people detained between 2008 and 2012, 800 were U.S. citizens.

According to the study, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued 28,682 immigration holds at Maricopa County Jail between 2008 to 2012. Los Angeles County Jail's Twin Tower came in second with 28,621 holds and Harris County Jail in Houston came in third with 28,063.  

Detainers are issued by ICE when they suspect someone of being in the country illegally. The agency then asks local authorities to hold suspects for up to 48 hours. Of the almost one million people detained between 2008 and 2012, less than 23% of them had been convicted of a crime and only 8.6% with a serious offense.

On a county level, Maricopa actually placed second behind Los Angeles, which leads the nation with 37,000 immigration holds. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a strong anti-immigration supporter, can no longer carry out immigration screenings after being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice and in a separate class-action case for racial profiling.

Arpaio was recently in the news for hiring child sex offenders to patrol 59 schools in the sheriff's primary jurisdiction in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting.

Deportations from Arizona hit a peak of 92,592 in 2010, the same year the state passed SB1070, before plummeting to 40,000 in 2012, The Arizona Daily Star reports.