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Arizona Immigration Law

Has Brewer gone too far with her latest executive order?

Yesterday Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order that reiterates that state agencies are required to deny licenses and public benefits to undocumented immigrants. She has extended this stipulation to also include all beneficiaries of President Obama’s recent decision to grant “deferred action”:

The federal program prevents young people who were brought into the country illegally as children from being deported if they were younger than 16 years old when they got here, are younger than 30, have lived in the U.S. continually since June 15, 2007, and have no felony convictions.

Estimates are that roughly 80,000 kids would qualify in Arizona. The program provides safe harbor for two years.

You can read theGovernor’s Executive Order here.

This immediately caused an uproar amongst immigration supporters as they felt it was another showing of Brewer being anti-immigration and xenophobic. There is a lot of validity to this argument. Why should she do something like this, we might be asking ourselves, if not to be just plain mean? Her defense has been that this is simply reiterating existing laws, which she has sworn to uphold. So her basic defense is that this is simply holding to existing law.

The problem might be that she doesn’t completely understand the law.

The ACLU argues that:

This is yet another reason why Arizona has no business trying to regulate immigration matters,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “Brewer is distorting federal law and inaccurately interpreting state law. This order conflicts with state and federal law because people who are granted deferred action will, in fact, have authorized presence in the United States and under Arizona law people who have authorized presence are eligible to apply for Arizona state identification. She is perpetuating the myth that deferred action applicants are somehow submitting fraudulent documents and that is completely false. Not only is she singling out young people who are eligible for deferred action, but she also is excluding other categories of non-citizens who are authorized to be in the country, including victims of domestic violence, from obtaining state-identification while their immigration applications are being processed.

So while Brewer’s argument of legal backing may sound convincing the reality is that it is murky at best and outright wrong at worst.

At the end of the day this probably means another lawsuit for the taxpayers of Arizona to pay for as our politicians play pretend law. Remind you of anything like say SB1070?

Sheriff Joe facing the Feds in court of Racial Profiling charges

Sheriff Joe is back in the news again. America’s, self proclaimed, toughest Sheriff will be facing charges that his department engaged in racial profiling when they pulled over suspected illegal immigrants. For years the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has engaged in routine traffic stops aimed at arresting illegal immigrants. Plaintiffs charge that these stops are purely driven by racial stereotypes and are in themselves illegal activities.

We have talked about Sheriff Joe a lot over the years and this is another instance where we the tax payers are going to foot his defense bill for activities that his office should not be engaged in. More to come as the trial progresses.

Joe Arpaio Trial: Arizona Sheriff Faces Racial Profiling Allegations

By JACQUES BILLEAUD, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX — Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s anti-illegal immigration patrols are taking center stage in federal court in Phoenix.

A lawyer for a group of Latinos who filed a civil lawsuit against his department said in opening statements Thursday that the evidence will show that Arpaio and his deputies racially profiled Hispanics.

“It’s our view that the problem starts at the top,” attorney Stan Young said.

Tim Casey, who is defending Arpaio, said the patrols were properly planned out and executed. He said they exceeded police standards. He said, “race and ethnicity had nothing to do with the traffic stops.”

The plaintiffs aren’t seeking money damages. They want a declaration that Arpaio’s office racially profiles and an order that requires it to make changes to prevent what they said is discriminatory policing.

The lawsuit filed by a handful of Latinos will serve as a precursor to a U.S. Justice Department’s case that alleges a broader range of civil rights violations by Arpaio’s office. Although not involved in Thursday’s case, a DOJ lawyer leading the agency’s civil rights case watched the trial.

Arpaio was not expected in court Thursday.

For years, Arpaio, the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America, has vehemently denied allegations that his deputies in Arizona’s most populous county racially profile Latinos in his trademark patrols.

The plaintiffs say Arpaio’s officers based some traffic stops on the race of Hispanics who were in vehicles, had no probable cause to pull them over and made the stops so they could inquire about their immigration status.

“He is not free to say whatever he wants,” said Dan Pochoda, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, one of the groups that pushed the lawsuit against Arpaio. “He will be called as a witness.”

If Arpaio loses the civil case, he won’t face jail time or fines.

At a late June hearing, Casey said the sheriff wanted the trial so he could prove his critics wrong and remove the stigma that the racial profiling allegation carries. “What we want is resolution,” Casey said.

The DOJ lawsuit makes many of the same racial profiling allegations, but goes further to say that Arpaio’s office retaliated against its critics, punished Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish and failed to adequately investigate a large number of sex-crimes cases.

No trial date in that case has been set.

Arpaio has said the DOJ lawsuit is a politically motivated attack by the Obama administration as a way to court Latino voters in a presidential election year.

DOJ officials say the department began its initial civil rights inquiry of Arpaio’s office during the Bush administration and notified the sheriff of its formal investigation a few months after Obama took office.

Arpaio has staked his reputation on immigration enforcement and, in turn, won support and financial contributors from people across the country who helped him build a $4 million campaign war chest.

The patrols have brought allegations that Arpaio himself ordered some of them not based on reports of crime but letters from Arizonans who complained about people with dark skin congregating in an area or speaking Spanish.

Some of the people who filed the lawsuit were stopped by deputies in regular patrols, while others were stopped in his special immigration sweeps. During the sweeps, deputies flood an area of a city – in some cases, heavily Latino areas – over several days to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders.

Undocumented immigrants accounted for 57 percent of the 1,500 people arrested in the 20 sweeps conducted by his office since January 2008, according to figures provided by Arpaio’s office, which hasn’t conducted any of the special patrols since October.

Arpaio has repeatedly said people who are pulled over in his patrols were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had committed crimes and that it was only afterward that officers found that many of them were undocumented immigrants.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow has issued rulings against Arpaio earlier in the case.

In December, he barred Arpaio’s deputies who are enforcing Arizona’s 2005 immigrant smuggling law from detaining people based solely on the suspicion that they’re in the country without documents. Arpaio has appealed that decision.

The judge also has reminded plaintiffs’ attorneys what they need to prove to make their claim of systematic discrimination. At a March hearing, he told them that to back up the racial profiling allegations, they must show Arpaio’s office had a policy that was intentionally discriminatory.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys say they plan to do so, in part, by focusing on their allegation that Arpaio launched some patrols based on racially charged citizen complaints that alleged no actual crimes.

Separate from the two lawsuits that allege racial profiling, a federal grand jury has been investigating Arpaio’s office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009 and is examining the investigative work of the sheriff’s anti-public corruption squad.

Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 Still in Legal Limbo

Today’s video from David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix DUI Defense Lawyer, is about the infamous Immigration Bill known as SB 1070. This bill was set to go into effect this month, April of 2011, but has been held up in Federal Court on Appeal after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton halted key provisions of the bill in Nov 2010. At this time it is not clear when the Appeal will be heard and decided on leaving the controversial bill in limbo.

In April of 2010 Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law and became an immediate lightning rod for the debate concerning Illegal Immigration. Many people felt that this law was unconstitutional as it required the police to ask for identification from anyone they suspected to be an illegal immigrant. The people who felt this way include the President of the United States, Brack Obama, and his administration filed a suit against the bill.

A new wrinkle in the debate is Arizona Senator Russel Pearce’s request to be added to the lawsuit so that he can make his voice heard. Pearce is the author of SB 1070 and feels he can best describe the bill’s intent. He cites a new Arizona law that was passed this year which would allow him to be added to this type of lawsuit. Others point out that this action would be unprecidented in legal history.

What do you think about SB 1070? Is it a good law? Should Russel Pearce be added to the lawsuit simply because the Arizona legislature passed a law saying its okay?

Here is more from the Arizona Republic:

The future of Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070 will remain in limbo until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issues a ruling, a federal judge decided Friday.

And there’s no telling when that will be.

The court heard arguments on Nov. 1 regarding U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s decision to halt most of the key provisions of SB 1070 from going into effect. The immigration bill was signed into law last April.

Bolton said Friday that she had been waiting to move forward with a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which challenges the law’s constitutionality, until there was a ruling on her injunction. It now has been five months, she said.

“I had anticipated that we would have had a decision. I was betting for February, and now, March has come and gone,” Bolton said, adding that she gets no advance notice on when a ruling might come.

Bolton said that she was reluctant to continue to wait but that she and attorneys representing the federal government on one side and the state and Gov. Jan Brewer on the other agreed that they couldn’t move forward with the underlying case until they had an appeals-court decision.

Bolton said once a ruling does come down, the two sides will have 30 days to let her know whether they will appeal again, which could take the case as high as the U.S. Supreme Court.

But there are some things that will happen while they continue to wait.

Bolton said they will move forward with a countersuit that Brewer filed in February alleging that the federal government has failed to secure the border.

Varu Chilakamarri of the Justice Department said it will file a motion to dismiss the countersuit within the next couple of weeks.

Bolton also will make a decision on a request by Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, to join the lawsuit as a defendant. She had initially denied Pearce’s request, but the Legislature passed a measure earlier this year authorizing Pearce and Speaker of the House Kirk Adams to intervene on behalf of the Legislature.

Brewer supports Pearce’s request; the Justice Department opposes it. On Friday, Bolton heard arguments from all the involved parties.

Pearce said he needs a seat at the table because he can best explain the intent of the Legislature in writing and passing SB 1070.

“I think we would enhance the debate,” he said. “This impacts the entire nation, and we need to be at the table.”

Attorney Paul Orfanedes of Judicial Watch, a conservative non-profit, is representing Pearce at no cost to the state.

Orfanedes admitted to Bolton that it is unprecedented for a legislature to ask to join a lawsuit in which state or gubernatorial attorneys are already defending a state law. But, he said, passing a law saying that the state wants the legislature to be represented in such a case also has never happened.

“This is the Legislature’s baby,” he said. “It knows this very controversial legislation better than anybody else.”

Chilakamarri said it would be unwarranted and unprecedented for Bolton to allow Pearce to intervene just because the state passed a law saying he could.

Bolton said she will rule on the matter later. She said she is concerned that adding another party to the case would mean more lawyers, more documents filed and more time.

“You are really not offering me anything that says the interests of the state Legislature are not being adequately represented,” she told Orfanedes.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2011/04/02/20110402xgr-1070hearing0402.html#ixzz1K6903hur

AZ Prop 100 Upheld: No Bail for Illegal Immigrants accused of serious crime

Today David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix DUI Lawyer, discusses the recent ruling on Arizona Prop 100 from 2006. This ballot driven initiative was approved by 78% of Arizona voters. In 2008 the ACLU sued saying that this law was unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued the ruling and denied a lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arapaio and others.

The law denies bail to illegal immigrants if they have commited a class 4 or higher felony. David argues that this law is fine and should be upheld and discusses how a capital murder or child molestation defendant will be held without bail.

Here is more from the Arizona Republic:

A federal judge this week upheld a voter-approved Arizona law that denies bail for inmates suspected of being in the country illegally.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a ruling Tuesday denying a lawsuit brought by a group of defendants who claimed the law violated suspects’ rights to due process and denied them constitutional protections that provide counsel and prevent excessive bail.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrant Rights Project brought the legal action and plans to appeal Bolton’s ruling.

Proposition 100, also called the Bailable Offenses Act, passed in 2006 with almost 78 percent of the vote. The law restricts judges from granting bail to any undocumented immigrant facing a Class 4 or higher felony.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was among the defendants named in the claim filed in 2008 and said he was confident the law’s constitutionality would be upheld.

Bolton did not rule on a claim that the law violates constitutional protections against self-incrimination and set a trial date for mid-June.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/04/02/20110402arizona-law-illegal…

Arizona Blocking Protesters? Sen Pearce Restricting Rights?

Arizona made the headlines again last week when Senate President Russell Pearce requested that Officers ban immigration activist Salvador Reza and Anayanse Garza. The protesters were apparently clapping and playing a drum, which are more disruptive than allowing people to carry firearms in the Capitol building (something Pearce is allowing). This lead to the Senator requesting the officers remove and ban individuals. David M Cantor, a Phoenix Criminal Attorney, delves further into the story to point out a few omissions by the Senator’s policy.

Here is the story from DailyKos:

At least the protesters in Wisconsin have access to the Capitol.

When Republican State Senator Carolyn Allen decided not to run for another term after serving in the legislature 16 years, she gave this as her reason:

“I do not want to live in the police state that Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and Andy Thomas are spearheading.” Arizona Republic

Thankfully, County Attorney Thomas is out of the picture and under a DOJ investigation, along with Sheriff Arpaio. That leaves Senate President Russell Pearce to carry their nativist water. He appears to be doing a good job, as Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford observed during a Senate hearing on Tuesday:

“And what I see happening is sort of a dictator Senate President.” New Times

Some thought Senator Allen’s comment last year a bit tin-foily, and Senator Beford was reprimanded by the Committee Chair for her “dictator” statement Tuesday. But let’s look at the evidence:

The first week of the 2011 legislative session, the newly installed Senate President Russell Pearce decreed that it was okay for anyone to carry a weapon into the Capitol and legislative chambers, even though some people wondered where that authority resided. Now he believes he should be able to decide who can visit the state grounds, and there’s talk in the media of Pearce’s Capitol blacklist.

Senator Pearce maintains there is no blacklist. That’s interesting, since Senator David Schapira Tweeted on Friday:

His claim that “there is no ‘blacklist'” is flatly untrue. He admitted to me yesterday that there is.

Yesterday, then, Pearce issued a press release, explaining that he banned some demonstrators from the Capitol at the request of Senator Krysten Sinema: “Sen. Sinema told Senate security she feared for her safety.” That’s also interesting, since Stephen Lemons from New Times spoke with Sinema:

Sinema tells me that’s untrue, that she never told anyone that she “feared for her safety” regarding the protest by radio show host Carlos Galindo and other activists of her press conference. Nor did she ask the Capitol Police to arrest anyone.

Finally, Pearce maintained he banned several individuals because “it is my duty to protect our Members, staff and visiting public.” He said some of the protesters this week were “clapping loudly and even banging a drum.” Got that? One of his first decisions as Senate President was to allow people to carry guns into the Capitol and the legislative chambers. Guns are okay, clapping no.

Who was banned from the Capitol and why?

Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce has always been a Looney Tune character, especially after 2004 when his son Sean was shot by a Mexican and dad went on his anti-immigrant bender (Sean thankfully recovered). So, he’s been tweeting his “invasion of the brown people” dog whistle for a long time, and we used to just think of him like a crazy old uncle who still uses the N-word and asks you to pull his finger. Just ignore the gross bigot.

Now, though, Pearce is not only Senate President but de facto Governor, so it’s no longer possible to ignore the most powerful and vicious politician in the state. Indeed, the vice grip his cruel wingnuttery has on the legislature was on display earlier this week when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a long list of racist and inhumane laws. That meeting gave birth to the blacklist.

Civil rights activist Sal Reza has fought his share of battles in the state’s war on immigration, many of them with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Reza, who is a member of the human rights group Puenta, has a wrongful-arrest lawsuit pending against Arpaio and his deputies for an incident that occurred last July during the protests that followed Governor Brewer’s signing of SB 1070. So in the eyes of Arpaio and Pearce, Sal is a “known troublemaker.”

Reza joined protestors at the explosive Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday. Hundreds of people filled three Senate Chambers and surrounded the building to protest the anti-immigration bills being considered — all of which passed. For some reason Reza, who watched the proceedings from a chamber on TV, was the one accused of being “disruptive” because the roomful of protestors would not stop applauding. And for that he landed on Pearce’s blacklist.

Democratic Senator Steve Gallardo said Pearce clearly “singl[ed] out Reza” because no one else was backlisted from the Capitol for excessive clapping. New Times’ Stephen Lemons points out the idiocy of Pearce’s selective enforcement:

Why had Reza been banned in the first place? [Capitol Police Officer] Abril writes, “On 2-22-11 Reza was advised by DPS security that he was not allowed in the Senate building because he was being disruptive. This trespass order [came] from the Senate President.”

Reza was present for Tuesday’s marathon Appropriations Committee hearing, along with numerous other activists, watching the proceedings on a TV set in an overflow room. How could Reza be disruptive as he sat in front of a Television? After all, the activists were not even allowed into the hearing room. I know because I was there.

Unbeknownst to him, Reza was persona non grata at the State Capitol, so when he and Anayanse Garza showed up Thursday at the Senate chambers for a meeting with Senator Gallardo,

Police arrested immigration activist Salvador Reza on suspicion of trespassing Thursday after he refused to leave the state Senate, and another activist could face assault charges stemming from a suspected shoving match with an officer. Arizona Republic

New Times was at the Capitol yesterday, when Reza and Garza held a press conference:

Both alleged abuse at the hands of DPS Officer J. Gentry Burton and DPS Sergeant Jeff Trap, who collared them after warning Reza to leave, supposedly because he had been “banned” on the orders of state Senate President Russell Pearce. Reza said he was thrown up against the glass window of the building’s lobby “like a common criminal.”

Garza claimed she was dragged by her hair during her arrests. Garza had not been “banned,” like Reza. “They used violence against me,” stated the soft-spoken, 33 year-old woman.

At the press conference Senator Gallardo asked,

“Where does [Pearce] have the authority to ban someone?” … He referred to the state Senate rule book, and indicated there was nothing granting Pearce such powers. “We call on Pearce to give us a list of everyone banned,” he stated. “We need to know who’s on that list and why.”

Meanwhile, while all this crap transpired this week, radio host Carlos Galinda sat outside the Capitol with a big sign in uppercase letters that read:

RUSSELL PEARCE BANNED ME FOREVER FROM THE CAPITOL BUILDING FOR EXERCISING MY 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS! REMEMBER THE BILL OF RIGHTS?

Remember them? I doubt if Pearce ever heard of them, except maybe that second one. A comment from Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox provided a fitting end to the press conference:

“We have to remind the [Arizona] Senate … that we’re still a part of the United States of America.”  

Last year, after the SB 1070 boycotts put a huge dent in Arizona’s vital tourism industry, the Governor appointed a commission to develop some image-saving strategies. At the time, one of their suggested slogans seemed laughable, especially if you were brown. Today it seems Kafkaesque:

Arizona — Experience the Freedom

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