The Associated Press
Phoenix, Ariz. — Phoenix police officers will begin asking all criminal suspects about their immigration status.
Chief Jack Harris told reporters at a news conference Thursday that the new policy toward undocumented residents goes into effect immediately.
The policy says everyone who is arrested can be questioned about their immigration status.
Previously, officers were ordered to ask only those suspected of committing a serious felony.
If an officer determines a suspect is an illegal immigrant they can be handed over to federal immigration authorities.
The new policy was crafted earlier this year by a four-member panel appointed by Mayor Phil Gordon.
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Gordon appointed the panel because he thought the city's immigration policy should reflect its status as the country's busiest immigrant smuggling hub.
City officials also were being criticized for creating a "sanctuary city."