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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


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.

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