SPRINGDALE, AR - Authority is being sought by four northwest Arkansas law enforcement agencies to detain illegal immigrants who commit crimes and to help deport them from the United States. Springdale, Rogers, Washington County and Benton County have applied for the federal program, which gives state and local officials authority to question illegal immigrants and initiate the deportation process.
The program covers illegal immigrants arrested on misdemeanors and felonies, as well as those in the country on expired work or student visas.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation estimates that about 50,000 illegal immigrants live in Arkansas. If the four agencies are accepted into the program, they could have as many as 19 certified agents combined who would identifiy illegal immigrants, investigate criminal cases and make deportation recommendations to federal judges.