A new Arizona law allows the state to charge a person with felony human smuggling, formerly only a federal charge. Now Arizona law enforcement officers will be expected to take over some of the duties reserved for federal officers in the past, without any additional funding for local law enforcement.

Tucson Police Chief Richard Miranda worries that enforcing the law will put a strain both on his department’s resources and its relationship with the Hispanic community.

The new legislation will require officers to ask for legal documentation in certain situations, which puts them in a difficult position. Also, an increase in local investigations into human smuggling will stretch the department’s manpower, especially already busy bilingual officers who will also be required at the scene of each such investigation.

The law, signed by Gov. Janet Napolitano this week, will go into effect this summer.
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