Publicado originalmente en: azcentral
Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio’s last standing avenue for illegal-immigration enforcement is now being challenged in federal court.
A local civil-rights organization on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to end Arpaio’s trademark workplace raids. This often-touted law-enforcement effort has led to the arrests of hundreds of immigrant workers since 2008.
The suit names Arpaio, County Attorney, Bill Montgomery, Arizona Department of Public Safety Director, Robert Halliday, and Maricopa County as defendants and challenges the constitutionality of two state laws that plaintiffs say target and victimize immigrants.
Las leyes que prohíben "tomar (la) identidad de otra persona o entidad" y "tomar con agravante (la) identidad de otra persona o entidad" son delitos graves de clase cuatro y tres, respectivamente.
Hasta la fecha, el Escuadrón de Empleo Criminal de Arpaio ha llevado a cabo 83 operaciones y ha detectado 782 sospechosos. Aunque los sospechosos son arrestados bajo las leyes estatales de robo de identidad y falsificación, los demandantes dicen que las redadas son esfuerzos poco velados para promover una agenda política más amplia.
“Their enforcement campaign has separated breadwinners from their families, suppressed workers’ rights, eroded the social fabric of the community, and ultimately harmed many U.S. citizens as well as immigrants,” the complaint reads.
The suit is spearheaded by Puente Arizona, a grassroots human-rights organization. Additional plaintiffs include two women arrested and convicted of felony identity theft due to the raids, and Reverend Susan E. Frederick-Gray, a Maricopa County taxpayer who maintains that enforcement of the Arizona statutes is an illegal expenditure of county dollars.
El director de Puente Arizona, Carlos García, dijo que las víctimas de las redadas no se limitan a los arrestados: la Oficina del Sheriff ha engendrado una cultura de miedo e intimidación constante para los trabajadores inmigrantes y las familias en todo el condado, dijo.
“The fear that children have that their parents might not come home from work that day is something you can’t explain,” Garcia said. “Someone gets caught in traffic and doesn’t get home when they usually do — kids are thinking they’re going to watch their parents on TV get raided.”
Los demandantes están pidiendo a un juez federal que considere las leyes inconstitucionales bajo la Decimocuarta Enmienda y que ingrese una orden judicial permanente que prohíba que el condado las aplique más.
Both state laws being challenged “were promulgated as part of a broader platform favored by Arizona nativists to make life so difficult for immigrants coming from Mexico and Latin America that they would ‘self-deport,'” the lawsuit states.
The Criminal Employment Squad is the only illegal immigration enforcement effort Arpaio has left.
Deputies were stripped of their authority to act as federal immigration agents on the streets and later in the jails. A recent racial-profiling lawsuit prompted a federal court order that curtails enforcement through traffic stops; deputies are prohibited from stopping cars or detaining people based solely on suspected unlawful presence in the country.
A separate, broad-reaching discrimination lawsuit brought on by the U.S. Department of Justice is currently making its way through the federal court system. It focuses on traffic stops, unlawful detentions, unconstitutional searches, seizures, and workplace raids.