Lawsuit Could Sideline Arpaio’s Anti-Immigration Crusade

Lawsuit Could Sideline Arpaio’s Anti-Immigration Crusade

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PHOENIX -- One quiet morning nearly 5 years ago, Manuel de Jesús Ortega Melendres, a 53-year-old Mexican tourist, was a passenger in a van that was pulled over – allegedly for speeding -- by a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy. Ortega Melendres, who has dark skin, and his co-passengers, were asked to show their legal documents. Ortega Melendres did so, but was nevertheless arrested and detained for four hours. The driver of the van was never officially cited for speeding.

Ortega Melendres’ name now appears as a plaintiff on a class-action lawsuit that accuses the Maricopa County sheriff’s office of racial profiling during its immigration enforcement operations. Arguments for the lawsuit – it was filed four years ago – are scheduled to be heard in court on July 19th.

The trial represents a pivotal moment for civil rights organizations and pro-immigrant groups in the state that have spent the last five years denouncing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s high-profile crusade against undocumented immigrants.

“At trial, we will prove that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s fixation on immigration enforcement and his equating of ‘illegal’ with Latino has resulted in systematic civil rights violations,” said Cecilia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, which is representing the plaintiffs, along with the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

Wang said the sheriff’s office set up “drag nets” to capture undocumented immigrants during immigration sweeps and “in the process… violated the rights of countless Latino residents of the county.”

Plaintiff attorneys will have to persuade a federal judge, Murray Snow, that civil rights violations committed by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office were systemic – meaning, they were the result of orders being given from the top of the department.

In an attempt to show that “discriminatory intent” was at the heart of the immigration sweeps, civil rights attorneys have presented as evidence a number of personal letters received by Arpaio from his constituents that called for racial profiling. Arpaio kept a file of the letters, sent thank-you notes to the writers, and circulated them among his staff.

“It is not merely the receipt of these types of requests, it is the fact that the sheriff is notating on them that action should be taken, and then giving them to the people [on his] team who are taking this sort of law-enforcement action,” said Andrew C. Byrnes, of the law firm Covington & Burling, which is also representing the plaintiffs.

“In many cases, the law-enforcement actions and the sweeps [took] place shortly after [Sheriff Arpaio passed] along this direction to his team,” he added.

One constituent wrote in a letter that “dark skin” is “the look of the Mexican illegals that are here illegally” and urged Arpaio to “come over to 29th Street/Greenway Parkway area and round them all up.” The area was subsequently targeted several times for immigration sweeps, according to court filings in the case.

A letter, dated May 24, 2008, requested that Arpaio conduct a sweep in the city of Mesa. Arpaio wrote a note on it saying, “I will be going into Mesa,” and sent a copy to Chief Brian Sands, in charge of crime suppression operations. Two sweeps were conducted in that city shortly afterwards.

Another letter, dated July 25, 2008, invited Arpaio to conduct more raids in the area and to specifically target day laborers. The letter reads: “Because of their demeanor, it is obvious (how) to pick out the illegals from the American citizens. I strongly request that you return to Mesa and help rid the city of this irritating problem.”

ACLU attorneys will also argue in the case that Arpaio didn’t have specific policies in place to prevent racial profiling by his deputies.

“[The sherrif’s office] has failed to put in place routine mechanisms that any reasonable law-enforcement agency of the United States would have in place to detect, prevent and stop racial profiling,” said Wang.

ACLU and MALDEF are not seeking monetary relief but wish to stop the alleged practice of racial profiling by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Some of the changes they may ask for include the development of a policy to ban the practice of racial profiling, active monitoring of deputy conduct AND the keeping of records of traffic stops.

Previous rulings by Judge Snow would indicate he could rule favorably for the plaintiffs. On December 2011, Snow barred Arpaio’s deputies from detaining people based solely on the suspicion that they are in the country illegally.

The outcome of the trial stands to also cast a light on another pending lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which alleges widespread civil rights violations against Latinos. The DOJ lawsuit is broader in scope than the racial profiling lawsuit, because it includes the treatment of Latinos within Maricopa County jails, as well as allegations of political retaliation against critics Sheriff Arpaio.

The ruling on the racial discrimination lawsuit may also impact Arpaio’s ability to enforce several state laws that target undocumented immigrants, most notably SB 1070, Arizona’s “show me your papers” law that was signed on April 23, 2010.

“There are some overlapping legal [questions], about whether local law-enforcement agencies have the power to detain people based solely on suspicion that they’re undocumented immigrants,” said Wang. But, he added, the recent Supreme Court ruling that three provisions of SB 1070 are unconstitutional “makes it clear the answer is no.”

Nevertheless, the one piece of SB 1070 that was upheld by the Supreme Court – the portion that allows law enforcement to ask people to show legal documents -- could still take effect as soon as July 20th. Independent of the current lawsuit, civil rights organizations are considering filing a request for an injunction on what some call the "papers please" aspect of SB 1070.

Arpaio started what he called his “crime suppression operations” in 2007, shortly after signing an agreement with the federal government – known as 287(g) -- that gave his sheriff’s deputies the legal authority to enforce federal immigration laws.

The immigration raids and sweeps that followed created an uproar, coming mostly from Latinos who felt they were being targeted because of the color of their skin. That in turn sparked the DOJ civil rights investigation, the ACLU / MALDEF lawsuit, and the revocation of the 287(g) agreement with the federal government.

In response, conservative politicians in Arizona, with Arpaio’s support, crafted the Support our Law-Enforcement and Secure Neighborhoods Act, aka SB 1070.

Arpaio is expected to testify during the trial that is scheduled to last until August 2nd. This is also an election year for the 80-year-old sheriff, who plans to run for re-election for the sixth time.

The sheriff’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the trial. Tim Casey, the defense attorney in the case, also declined to comment.

Defense attorneys have presented as evidence a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigration think tank, that analyzed the overall number of arrests of Latinos by Arpaio’s office during traffic stops -- not specifically the crime suppression sweeps – and which found there had been an increase in traffic stops across all racial groups between 2005 to 2009, a finding that defense attorneys plan to use to show that Latinos were not targeted.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs claim that Latinos have been stopped at higher rates than other ethnic groups during sheriff’s deputy patrols.

According to an analysis conducted by Ralph B. Taylor, a criminal justice expert and professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania, deputies were more likely to stop Latinos during immigration sweeps than during their regular patrols. Latinos were nearly 30 percent more likely to be stopped during the sweeps, according to his analysis. The report also indicates that Hispanics were up to 54 percent more likely to be stopped by deputies involved in a sweep than by a deputy on a regular patrol the same day.

 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Jul 18 2012

God Bless Sheriff Joe!


why is USA importing Chinese to build our bridges?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83pNM3Oy1As

Secret Video-Immigration Lawyers teach companies how to steal jobs from USA workers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEwJvmJj2uo

They Took Our Jobs - Immigration Stories You Are Not Supposed to Hear H-1B H-2B Visas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YItkuxv7dhU

Jon Stewart is THE MAN on lying to America about immigration!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5kgNwvSHyc

Millions of illegals will now get free healthcare.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Banza7Y0A

Anonymous

Posted Jul 18 2012

God Bless Sheriff Joe!


why is USA importing Chinese to build our bridges?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83pNM3Oy1As

Secret Video-Immigration Lawyers teach companies how to steal jobs from USA workers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEwJvmJj2uo

They Took Our Jobs - Immigration Stories You Are Not Supposed to Hear H-1B H-2B Visas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YItkuxv7dhU

Jon Stewart is THE MAN on lying to America about immigration!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5kgNwvSHyc

Millions of illegals will now get free healthcare.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Banza7Y0A

Anonymous

Posted Jul 20 2012


We must express in votes what the TEA PARTY can do for all Americans and that is to massively influence both political parties. Now I am not saying every Legislator in Congress is corrupt, but there are many making money off the American public. So the Democrats and Republicans need to clean house, on issues that are urgently important to the American people. By adding the impediments of the TEA PARTY that are running of the government, the real ‘PEOPLE’S PARTY’ can pressure the senators and House to carry out the bidding of the taxpayer. Here are a few of the issues that can be altered by the TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP:

1. The TEA PARTY can force a vote on the ‘Legal Workforce Act’ (E-Verify) and enact it as mandatory in every business nationwide. Those who feel they are not accountable will be looking at hefty fines, loss of assets and even prison. All those who ignore the I-9 audits in not implementing the computer to detect illegal aliens in the workplace will be sanctioned?

2. The TEA PARTY will force a vote on the ‘Birthright Citizenship Act’ concluding once and for all, that pregnant women can no longer gain citizenship through a misguided loophole for a child, just by slipping past Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) at the border or over staying a visa, leading ultimately to yet another Dream Act. What about American teenagers, who have been pushed out of jobs that were the monopoly for our kids a couple of decades back?

3. The TEA PARTY will ensure that the Justice Department cannot intimidate states trying to protect the right of its lawful residents. New laws will be imposed to halt Sanctuary States as California, Nevada, and New York and punish those elected officials, who have snubbed immigration laws. They will be prosecuted as ‘aiding and abetting’ illegal aliens, which Federal Immigration and Nationality Act Section 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii) then fined under title 18 of being imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both."

4. Introduce a new law that no longer gives bipartisan exemption from tax revenues, making everybody pay their fair share and even the 40 percent of the lowest of incomes that should mandatory pay a small amount.

5. The TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP to immediately press the Congress, to negotiate with Canada to run the Keystone pipeline. In addition grant access to Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico to drill for oil, natural gas and mine for coal, within a future that they provide research and development in cleaning these necessary products as a priority in future years.

6. The war in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban for what anymore? We must stop filling the pockets of government contractors and politicians with taxpayer money? After 10 years what have we accomplished? Nothing! Over 2000 American troops have given their lives, and we are sending 8 billions of dollars a month to a very corrupt government. Like most of the Middle East they are still living under archaic laws, where women have no rights. It’s time to start ‘Nation Building’ at home and not in other countries. Why we are policing the world, when our own country is held hostage to criminals entering America, through a border that in most places you can walk through some rusty barbed wire. Where is American protection to stop financial migrants entering our nation and pilfering uncompensated state treasuries?

The Tea Party is essential to America surviving, as we have both parties spending billions of dollars on pet projects. We have President Obama signing executive orders to give just about equal access to food stamps. That illegal immigration has been encouraged by both political parties for different reasons; the Democrats pressing for political pleasing laws, such as the Dream Act against the Congress and the hope that they will gain election impetus for more votes—from non citizens and illegal aliens, without looking towards the consequences in close races. Then Republicans who allow clandestinely over a million new immigrants a year, with low skilled experience and being supplied to corporations as slave labor.

The TEA PARTY is not receding, but growing faster than ever and not just in the millions anymore. These are the demoralized people who can be counted in the millions, who will arrive at the election booth? They are the hidden voters, the individuals who have never paid attention to voting? There are chapters all over the country, in towns, cities and from every racial preference, religion and political party who no longer trust Washington. The Liberal press can print what they like, but the TEA PARTY is here to stay. President Obama and Mitt Romney had better take notice, because the TEA PARTY PEOPLE are sick and very tired of the greed, the influence and power grabs.

Illegal immigration is unsettling as it is dividing the country and is predictably in causing a major financial situation--without a solution? California, that boasts of two major Sanctuary cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles are costing taxpayers extraordinary amounts of money. Don’t take my word for it, but read a report by Michael D. Andronovich, Los Angeles County Supervisor who lays out a lengthy truth of the costs in this metropolis of 1.6 billion dollars annually, while the Nevada annual fiscal burden of immigration to be approximately $630 million. Then Arizona's illegal immigrant population is costing the state's taxpayers even more than once originally thought and now revised, to a whopping $2.7 billion a year. It is estimated that U.S. taxpayers spend $12,000,000,000 a year on primary and secondary school education for the children of illegal immigrants.

Each year, it costs the states billions of dollars to incarcerate illegal alien criminals and during one recent 23 year period, the state of California built 23 prisons but just one university. Texas has set their uncompensated cost for state services for an estimated 1.6 million illegal Mexican immigrants at $6 billion to $8 billion a year. These are estimated dollar costs by different organizations and at most projections are limited to what the states release? However, one thing is for sure, the dollars spent on illegal immigrants rises annually as more impoverished persons skip the border. America once a bastion of ‘law and order’ has been overrun in many jurisdictions by foreign nationals, with the Socialist progressives in the Obama Imperial Court, who have contempt for our laws, language and our constitutional foundation.

As for New Mexico the costs to support illegal aliens remains doubtful and silent by the elected officials. Border agents are stating that there are a growing number of radical Muslims sneaking over the Mexican border into the United States. A number of state and local jurisdictions enacted immigration-enforcement measures in 2012 or fended off attempts by politicians and elected officials to accommodate illegal aliens. Alabama revised its enforcement law without extensively weakening it while Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and three local governments enacted enforcement laws. Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Hawaii, Washington State and, so far, California taxpayers are denying illegal aliens the public benefits that advocates have demanded. WANT MORE STUNNING DETAILS ON THE COST AND OTHER INTELLIGENCE ON THE ILLEGAL ALIEN INVADERS—GO TO IMMIGRATIONCOUNTERS DOT COM.

Going after Sheriff Joe Arpaio for doing his job is a witch hunt and the larger majority is aware of this. It’s a way to gain favoritism for Obama’s potential reelection, so non citizen’s vote for him. Joe stands out along with Sheriff Babeu who neither runs with their tails between their legs as with most police chiefs. It’s inevitable that the sheriff’s sweeps are going to detain people of a certain national status, because we have been silently invaded by a majority from South of our border; Arizona ground zero for every illegal alien who slips past the limited manpower at the non-existent fence. If outspoken politicians as Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama were not a powerhouse in Congress, he too would be on the Obama’s Dept of Justice short list for attack by the overconfident Liberal nutcases.

You want fairness for every American? Well you will not find it in Washington as it is now? Join the dispirited, join the furious; join the desperate, join the TEA PARTY. Get every person you know to vote into office every Constitutional candidate, as the Tea Party leader who will turn on the power and strengthen the resistance at the local level and the national level as well. Want to learn more about this ‘PEOPLE’S PARTY, then please go to TEA PARTY DOT ORG and you will be stunned with such unlawful acts as a covert agreements with Mexico, in offering food stamps to illegal migrants and immigrants. Want more information about corruption in Washington, and then go to Judicial Watch dot org. Then go to the largest pro-sovereignty organization that have boosted their membership to over a million and that is NumbersUSA.dot com.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

You are a sick person with archaic mind.

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