An Arizona sheriff says U.S. Border Patrol officials have repeatedly told him they have been ordered to reduce — at times even stop — arrests of illegal immigrants caught trying to cross the U.S. border.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever told FoxNews.com that a supervisor with the U.S. Border Patrol told him as recently as this month that the federal agency’s office on Arizona’s southern border was under orders to keep apprehension numbers down during specific reporting time periods.

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