The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding a piece of Arizona’s controversial immigration law portends such a “huge” increase in policing for one department that the chief wondered Tuesday if his agency will be able to handle the workload.

At a time when the Tucson Police Department is down 160 officers because of a weakened economy, the agency now must make up to 50,000 additional phone calls a year to federal officials to verify the immigration status of persons whom officers have stopped and have reason to believe are in the country illegally, Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said Tuesday.

Other law agencies in Arizona, however, reported “business as usual” a day after the Supreme Court ruling.

Just 70 miles from the Mexican border, the Tucson department may have to spend more than $10 million a year to book and jail up to 36,000 arrestees also suspected of being illegal immigrants — a more than 7% increase to the agency’s $130 million budget, Villaseñor said.

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