MCSO arrests girl, 6, suspected of illegal immigration
The girl was with 15 other people believed to be in the country illegally who were traveling to the Midwest and northeast United States, said Chris Hegstrom, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
“She’s been turned over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to try to determine where she’s from. She told us she’s from El Salvador. That’s what she told us,” he said.
The arrest took place Friday night at an undisclosed location in northern Maricopa County.
“It was part of a human-smuggling investigation that we’ve been investigating throughout the Valley,” Hegstrom said.
The whereabouts of the girl’s parents or other caretakers is unknown. All of the people traveling with her claimed to know nothing about the girl.
“Where was she going? What are they going to do with her? We’re trying to get to the bottom of this right now,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
All of the other suspected illegal immigrants, who claimed to be from Mexico, were booked into jail.
“We enforce the human-smuggling laws here,” Arpaio said. “Every chance I can get to take action on my own without turning them over to ICE, I do. Especially with the new policy the president has.”
The new policy allows illegal immigrants younger than 30 years old to apply to stay in the United States without being deported for two years. They can apply for a work permit, but still will not have any legal status in the country.
Those illegal immigrants must prove they were younger than 16 when they arrived in the U.S. and have lived here for at least five years. They also must be students, a high-school graduate, have a GED diploma or have been honorably discharged from the military or Coast Guard. Those undocumented immigrants with felony or significant misdemeanor criminal records or who pose a threat to national security or public safety are not eligible.
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