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Immigration agents to screen Ariz. inmates

Immigration agents to screen AZ inmates after sheriff loses authority to screen for immigrants By The Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) ' The Department of Homeland Security says it will use immigration agents to screen jail inmates in Arizona's Maricopa County after it revoked the sheriff's authority to use its systems.

Homeland Security assistant secretary Nelson Peacock said Monday in a letter to Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona that the 50 agents will "screen, identify, apprehend and remove criminal aliens" in the county jails.

The agents will replace county officers with special training and authority to do the task in Sherriff Joe Arpaio's jails. Homeland Security revoked the authority last week after a Justice Department investigation concluded the sheriff's office regularly violated civil rights.

Arpaio says the letter is meant to pacify the public. He says agents won't be in the jails and won't deport all illegal immigrants.

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