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ICE arrests spike after the holidays

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 19:45:52-05

FLORENCE, Ariz. — In January 2019 ICE in Arizona reported 543 arrests.

In January 2018 and 2017 respectively: 640 and 496.

These stats are from ICE's Phoenix "Area of Responsibility" which is a designation for the agency's coverage area over the entire state of Arizona.

ICE did not provide a reason why the numbers spike up after the holidays.

"Post holiday season we deal with an increase flux of bond detainees," said immigration attorney Cashmala Fazal

Fazal said she's made plenty of trips to ICE detention facilities across Arizona.

More of her clients, she said, are being arrested after the holidays.

"More families are spending more time together, we're getting an increase influx for domestic violence arrests and DUI arrests."

Fazal said people get arrested for other things then questioned about their immigration status.

"We've been flooded pretty much everyday doing bond hearings, trying to get clients out on bond so they can fight their immigration case."

It's a trend, Fazal said, that lasts several months.

"You're going to see it peak from now, all the way 'til May. After May it will decline a little bit, as far as pending charges and convictions."

"They get sent back to Mexico and they have a criminal warrant out for their arrest...that they can't fight."

Because of this, Fazal said, if migrants ever get back to the country to pursue a legal status, judges could actually take these outstanding charges into consideration for their case.

"So that affects their future relief of coming back to this country ever again," Fazal said.

"The respondent, himself, may not be guilty of the crime, may not have been found guilty of the crime in a criminal court but an immigration judge can take that into consideration for his immigration case."

2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the passage of Arizona SB1070, which allows local law enforcement to question anyone's legal status in Arizona.