The Arizona Department of Public Safety said they had been forced to release over a dozen illegal immigrants in Chandler on Friday morning, April 16, after their request for assistance from federal immigration authorities was denied.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the department revealed that a state trooper stopped a van for a traffic violation on Interstate 10 at Milepost 159 in Chandler about 6:15 a.m. When the trooper approached the van’s driver, a U.S. citizen, he observed 17 undocumented aliens inside.

“AZDPS requested assistance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Border Patrol to take custody of the undocumented aliens, both agencies declined the request,” the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

“Absent response from the agencies with jurisdiction on immigration violations, the state trooper issued the appropriate citations for the traffic violations, impounded the vehicle, and was forced to release the subjects,” the department wrote.

When contacted for a comment and additional details, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued the following statement through Arizona’s Family:

“On April 16, ICE officers were unable to immediately respond when notified by Arizona local law enforcement. When ICE officers did arrive on the scene, occupants of the vehicle had already departed.”

The Border Patrol also provided a statement on Friday evening.

On April 16, 2021 CBP’s Tucson Border Patrol Sector received a referral from an Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) vehicle stop in Chandler, AZ. Due to the distance from the border and all available Agents actively engaged in multiple ongoing interdiction efforts, Tucson Sector referred DPS to ICE Enforcement Removal Operations who have assets stationed in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The influx of migrants arriving at the border has overwhelmed federal agencies, with apprehensions reaching nearly 20,000 in the Tuscon sector and about 12,000 in the Yuma sector. Other border states are also strained.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have yet to visit the southern border, prompting Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to repeatedly criticize the administration’s handling of the border crisis.

“The Biden/Harris administration needs to get its head out of the sand when it comes to the crisis at our border. This lack of action defies all logic and flies in the face of the law,” Ducey expressed his concern on Twitter.

“This administration is asleep at the switch, and their total lack of action is having real consequences here in the state of Arizona. I’ve met with our Border Patrol, and they need help, and they need the support of the administration.

“It’s time for the White House to act and do its job, so the dedicated law enforcement officials on the ground have the resources, support, and direction they desperately need. I’m hopeful that our United States Senators and Congressional delegation will join me in calling for the President to deploy the National Guard to our border.

“If the federal government isn’t going to do its job, then Arizona will take matters into our own hands and provide support to sheriffs and local law enforcement. The policies of the Biden/Harris administration are inhumane to those seeking legitimate humanitarian relief and do nothing but empower those that pose a serious threat to public safety, including drug cartels and human traffickers,” he added.

On April 7, more than 130 illegal immigrants surrendered to border patrol agents near San Miguel, Arizona.

According to John Modlin, interim Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol for the Tucson area, the group included people from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. They were given face masks and transported to Tucson for processing.

Also, on April 7, more than 750 unaccompanied minors crossed the border, bringing the total number of unaccompanied children in U.S. custody to over 20,000. 

The surge is primarily due to the Biden administration’s repeal of many of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.