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Calling Out the Posse to Fight Illegal Immigration

Confronted with illegal border crossing in Arizona, the Maricopa County Sherriff's office has turned to a traditional Western solution: the posse. Wednesday night, sheriff's deputies and members of the department's 300-member reserve force were sent to patrol the desert and round up illegal immigrants suspected of paying smugglers to cross the border.

The new practice is based on a controversial interpretation of a state law making it a crime to smuggle illegal aliens. In the Maricopa interpretation, it is also a crime to pay a smuggler.

The sheriff's office of Maricopa, which includes the city of Phoenix, is facing lawsuits and charges of racial profiling. NPR's Ted Robbins went along on the posse's first night out.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As supervising editor for Arts and Culture at NPR based at NPR West in Culver City, Ted Robbins plans coverage across NPR shows and online, focusing on TV at a time when there's never been so much content. He thinks "arts and culture" encompasses a lot of human creativity — from traditional museum offerings to popular culture, and out-of-the-way people and events.

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