Flushing Them Out

Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas are teaching the rest of the nation how to terrorize illegal immigrants

Daniela's world is very small. Though she was born in Mexico and traveled thousands of miles to Phoenix, she might never leave her neighborhood again. As an undocumented immigrant in Maricopa County, it's just too risky.

Her eldest child longs for the family to take a trip to California and see the ocean, but Daniela, the mother of four American citizens and one undocumented child, ages 5 to 13, doesn't travel farther than three blocks from her home. She's terrified.

Her husband, a welder, leaves for work before dawn. She never knows if he'll come home.

Phoenix lawyer Daniel Ortega
Morgan Bellinger
Phoenix lawyer Daniel Ortega
Activist Alfredo Gutierrez works the crowd outside M.D. Pruitt's furniture store, the site of a weekly immigration protest.
Morgan Bellinger
Activist Alfredo Gutierrez works the crowd outside M.D. Pruitt's furniture store, the site of a weekly immigration protest.
Outside Pruitt's in Phoenix
Morgan Bellinger
Outside Pruitt's in Phoenix
Immigrants protest Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Morgan Bellinger
Immigrants protest Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
An anti-immigrant protester
Morgan Bellinger
An anti-immigrant protester

Daniela has very few friends — there's no one she can trust not to report her, especially now that the county sheriff has an illegal immigration hotline.

She can't leave her house to buy groceries; she's heard that the sheriff stations deputies at Food City.

Daniela lives down the street from a drug dealer, not a safe environment for a young family. She knows the guy's name, his address and she's seen him do business. But she can't call the police — they might take her away.

She's learned how to walk quietly, to stay in the shadows. The only place Daniela allows herself to go is her children's elementary school. She volunteers there six hours a day. She says it's her responsibility to be active in her children's education. But when she walks to school (she won't drive, ever) she makes sure to go with one of her few friend or her kids.

"You can't walk alone because if you are walking alone and you get taken, who is going to tell your family you are gone?" she says. "When you walk, you walk fast and you walk quiet. You don't talk to nobody. If someone is speaking to you, you don't say anything."

Daniela's children can't sleep through the night. They have nightmares about their parents getting caught and deported.

"We are the only support for my children. If we get arrested, we don't have another person to take care of my children," say says, starting to cry. "When they ask, 'What's going to happen to us, Mom, if you get arrested?' I lie to them. I say, 'We have a plan my love, my sweetie. Someone will take care of you and your brothers. Nothing is going to happen to you.' But it's a lie."

Daniela also wakes up at night, crying. In her dreams, she relives her border crossing. She came to America to meet up with her husband when she was 17, their 8-month-old baby in tow. In the border town of Agua Prieta, she was assaulted by a "coyote," slang for a person who smuggles immigrants across the border. The coyote stole her money, her identification, and tried to steal her baby.

"They tell me they will take my baby," she says in her slow, practiced English, from inside a classroom at her children's elementary school. That was 13 years ago, but from the look on her face, it could have been yesterday. "They say, 'You will never see your baby again.'"

To save her young son, Carlos, she made a decision that haunts her to this day: She paid a strange woman $600 to drive him safely to Phoenix. It was a painful gamble, but one that paid off. Carlos survived.

If Daniela were caught trying to save his life this way in Maricopa County, she'd be charged with human smuggling, the same as the coyote who haunts her nightmares. Today, victims of smuggling are treated the same as the perpetrators, thanks to an interpretation of the law that assigns the same level of responsibility to the criminals who smuggle and the people they sneak across the border.

There's good reason to be afraid. The situation for undocumented immigrants in Maricopa County is arguably the worst in the country, thanks to two men: County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Roberto Reveles, the former president of immigrant rights group Somos America (We Are America), says there is no place in the country worse than Maricopa County.

"It's worse because here there is a statewide effort. The state Legislature is involved, the executive branch — the governor — is complicit, and at the local level, the worst in the country has to be the Maricopa County sheriff and county attorney, who are abusing their power to harass, intimidate, and create fear in the hearts of dark-skinned people," he says.

In October, when the owners of this newspaper were arrested for releasing information about a grand jury subpoena, no group in Maricopa County watched more closely than the undocumented immigrant community, says Antonio Bustamante, a Phoenix defense lawyer litigating a class-action suit against Arpaio and Thomas.

"It was a despicable, cowardly, gutless lack of character thing to do to any human being," he says. "And if they would do that to prominent members of the community — if you're a 'wetback' — you've got no chance."

Undocumented immigrants know better than anyone what it's like to be arrested in the middle of the night, to walk around as moving targets, to sit in jail.

In the past year, the fight against immigrants has gotten particularly nasty as violence against immigrants has escalated.

But this is a fight that began back in November 2004, when a conservative lawyer named Andrew Thomas ran for office on a get-tough immigration platform. The pundits scoffed, noting that the county attorney technically has very little to do with illegal immigration, a federal issue. But Thomas has delivered on his campaign promises. In doing so, he's become a national spokesman for the anti-immigration movement.

From his attack on the judiciary, to his promise to aggressively enforce a new employer-sanctions law aimed at businesses who hire undocumented workers, to his intense lobbying for a ballot measure that denies bail to illegal immigrants accused of committing felonies, to his campaign against identity theft, almost every political move Thomas makes has anti-immigrant rhetoric at its root.

And these days, Arpaio is right by his side.

Together, they've succeeded in terrorizing the undocumented residents of Maricopa County. Consider:

• Thomas' controversial interpretation of Arizona's anti-smuggling statute. The county attorney accuses all people who are smuggled into the state of conspiring to smuggle themselves, a class 4 felony.

• Maricopa County is the only place in the country where victims of human smuggling are treated as criminals.

• The law has drawn the attention of national human rights groups like the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law on the grounds that the statute is preempted by the federal government's constitutional right to regulate immigration.

• A crackdown by Arpaio's deputies on law-abiding immigrants — including food vendors, college students, and day laborers — has left the community so frightened that many immigrants will not even leave their homes to visit the grocery store or go to church. Even American citizens of Hispanic descent say they are nervous. One citizen New Times spoke with carries his United States passport around to prove he's a citizen.

• A push toward making local law enforcement into immigration officers has had a chilling effect on the undocumented population. In February, 160 county deputies were granted immigration authority. Recently, Phoenix and Mesa have considered allowing police officers to question immigration status (previously, they had to call ICE to verify status). Though Arpaio has arrested only about 1,300 illegal immigrants — a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated 300,000 living in Maricopa County — the effort has been felt throughout the undocumented population.

• An increase in immigrant-on-immigrant violence has come, experts say, as a result of the population's inability to call the police in time of need. The fear within the immigrant community of all police has given violent criminals the upper hand — they know their victims can't, or won't, call for help.

Because of the sheriff's reputation for retaliation, all undocumented immigrants New Times interviewed for this story chose to use only their real first names in order to avoid capture and possible deportation. Some even refused to meet with a reporter in person out of fear of being turned over to the police.

Both Arpaio and Thomas' offices declined interview requests for this story. Phoenix lawyer Daniel Ortega, legal counsel to Somos America, says county policies have dangerous ramifications.

"It is our position that Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas are doing exactly what the Constitution of the United States prohibits, and that is the enforcement of immigration laws at a local level," Ortega says. "Why? Because they want to get re-elected. They don't even have to tell the truth. It doesn't matter as long as it gets a headline."

The issue is not unique to Maricopa County. Nationally, the topic has become such a political onus that in October Mexican President Philipe Calderón issued a statement begging American politicians to stop using migrants as the "thematic hostages of their speeches and strategies."

This past summer, a national attempt at comprehensive immigration reform, which included a guest-worker program and amnesty provisions for illegal immigrants already here, along with provisions for beefed up border security and sanctions for employers who hire illegal immigrants, failed to pass Congress.

Without a national solution, states have been left to cope with the problem themselves. At least 18 states have punitive laws that deal with illegal immigration. Following Thomas' lead in Arizona, states including Colorado, Nebraska, and Idaho are considering legislation that would deny bail to undocumented immigrants, and Oklahoma already has such a law in place. In January, Virginia's House of Delegates passed a law that denies state funding to charitable organizations if the money is used to help illegal immigrants.

Under Thomas' direction, Arizona is leading the way. Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and internationally recognized expert on immigration, says Arizona is a leader on the issue. But that doesn't mean she agrees with what the state is doing.

"I would say, for better or worse, Arizona has led the way on state immigration measures," she says. "I would call them Draconian state measures."

By the way, Jacoby is no fuzzy liberal. She's long been known as a rational conservative voice on the issue, working behind the scenes with policymakers in Washington, D.C. She did not want to comment directly on Thomas' policies, but she did say the trend toward state-sponsored immigration legislation is dangerous. Jacoby says the problem needs to be handled by the one entity constitutionally equipped to handle the problem: the federal government. She blames federal immigration quotas that don't correspond to actual national labor needs.

It's not that people would rather be illegal. They don't have a legal way to come. States can't do anything about that," she says. "All they can do is pass these laws, which are so far from what we need. It's like a zero-calorie diet."

Linda Chavez, executive director of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank based in Virginia, agrees that the political hysteria surrounding immigration is out of control.

"I think Arizona was sort of ground zero in the fight against illegal immigration. The reason you're seeing these state initiatives is because the federal government hasn't dealt with it," she says. "We have a real hysteria sweeping the nation. The hysteria has stopped Congress from acting and provoked states to act and, frankly, it's a mess. For states to come in and usurp the job of the federal government is misplaced and dangerous."

Chavez worries that many state jurisdictions, like Maricopa County, ignore the facts surrounding immigration and act under political pressure. She points out that nationally, the number of immigrants coming to America has declined since 2000. This holds true in Maricopa County. Between 1990 and 2000, the foreign born population here increased about 144 percent. But between 2000 and 2005, it increased only 29 percent.

"A lot of these jurisdictions are acting on their gut reactions rather than empirical evidence," says Chavez. "They're not considering the constitutional ramifications."

That's true. Like it or not, immigrants — both legal and illegal — are protected by the Constitution. In a landmark 1981 case, the U.S. Supreme Court verified that all people within the borders of the United States are protected by its laws.

In Plyler v. Doe, the court ruled that illegal immigrants still have the right to public education, the undocumented are legally established as recognizable "persons" and are guaranteed equal protection under the law by the 14th Amendment.

Other decisions have declared that immigrants are entitled to due process and can not be arrested or subject to unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause.

Even Deputy Troy Henley, special agent in charge of investigations at Arizona's office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, agrees the undocumented have constitutional rights that need to be protected.

"Generally speaking, if you are in the United States, you have constitutional rights," he says. "Certain rights attach, certain rights don't. Law enforcement rights attach."

The political hysteria surrounding undocumented immigrants paved the way for a right-leaning attorney with a Latina wife and a hard anti-illegal immigration stance to win the position of Maricopa County's highest-ranked elected law enforcement official.

In 2004, when Andrew Thomas ran his campaign on an illegal immigration platform, it was hard to take him seriously. His "stop illegal immigration" signs that covered the county seemed almost like a joke. It seemed preposterous that a county attorney could tackle a federal issue that even national law enforcement and Congress can't get under control. But his plan worked. Thomas won the election. And immigration was more than just a campaign talking point — almost immediately, Thomas made good on his promises.

At that point, the new county attorney and the old sheriff had not yet forged a bond.

In April 2005, only a few months after Thomas took office, Patrick Haab, an ex-Army reservist, made national headlines by holding seven Mexican migrants hostage at gunpoint at a rest stop on Interstate 8, on county land southwest of Phoenix, because he thought they were illegal. Maricopa sheriff's deputies who arrived at the scene charged Haab with seven felony counts of aggravated assault.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: You don't pull guns on people because of the color of their skin," Arpaio told the Arizona Republic. "I will continue to defend my deputies. They made the right decision."

But Thomas had other ideas. Twelve days after Haab was arrested, Thomas announced he wouldn't prosecute the case because of a state law that permits a citizen arrest when a felony is committed.

(Never mind the fact that crossing the border without inspection is not a felony in and of itself. The first time an undocumented immigrant crosses the border, it's a misdemeanor. Illegal entry doesn't become a felony until the person is caught, deported, and tries to come back.)

Paul Charlton, then the U.S. attorney for Arizona, thought Thomas' decision was dangerous.

"Any time anyone takes the law into their own hands, they risk a number of things," he says of what Haab did. "Their own lives, the lives of the people they are detaining, and the lives of law enforcement who come upon the scene. It's a risky proposition, at best, and it should only occur when there's not another alternative. In my mind, there were a number of other alternatives, short of holding these individuals hostage."

But what Thomas did resonated with voters, and the incident generated headlines for months. Haab even appeared on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes to discuss the incident. Thomas drew applause from such anti-immigration groups as the fledgling Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

Arpaio, famous for generating headlines, saw an opportunity.

Local activist, lobbyist, radio host, and former state legislator Alfredo Gutierrez says it was a dangerous union.

"Arpaio is a clown. A clown that's good for the times, but a clown. Thomas is smart. He's fiercely intelligent and civilized, but he's also vile and hateful," he says. "Arpaio has an obsessive need for public approval and media attention, and that's been true since the beginning. The green bologna, Tent City — it's all designed to keep him in the spotlight. Right around the Haab incident, it became clear to him that this was the next logical escalation. His primary motivation is seeing his face on television. Thomas is a different case. Thomas truly understands his actions and his manipulation of the sheriff is very purposeful."

Around the same time, the Arizona Legislature passed a law aimed at stopping human smuggling. Jonathan Paton, a Republican from Tucson, says he sponsored the bill with the thought that it would be aimed at the organized crime rings that traffic humans on the border, not at their cargo.

The bill makes it illegal for a person to intentionally smuggle human beings for profit or commercial purposes and defines smuggling as the transportation of people who are known, or could reasonably be suspected, to be unlawfully in the state.

Paton remembers the committee sessions leading up to the bill's vote as intense.

"There was a lot of debate. They were grilling me to see if this could be used to go after someone driving a gardener around and all these different things. I have a district that goes up to the border. I'm not soft on border issues," he says. "But this [going after those being smuggled] was not part of my plan."

Thomas didn't care. In September 2005, he issued an official opinion on the law. Under Thomas' interpretation, anyone who pays a "coyote" to guide them to America is guilty of conspiracy to commit smuggling, a felony offense that puts the smuggled on the same level as the violent criminals who bring them here.

Of the 18 or so anti-trafficking state laws nationwide, none has this scope.

Florida, a state with a large trafficking problem, even ensures that victims are provided with state-funded services.

Still, Thomas' political moves have resonated in other states. Earlier this year, Oklahoma passed a comprehensive immigration package filled with laws modeled after those in Arizona. State Representative Randy Terrill, who authored the bill and brags that his is one of only three states truly cracking down on illegal immigration — the other two, according to Terrill are Georgia and Arizona — says he's looking at Arizona's law for guidance.

Two months after Thomas issued his opinion on smuggling, he hosted a conference on illegal immigration. The Southwest Conference on Illegal Immigration, Border Security and Crime was created under the guise of exploring the issue of illegal immigration, but its true purpose was to grab national attention.

The list of panelists included John Leo, a former New York Times columnist, and Kris Kobach, former counsel to John Ashcroft. Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute was also one of Thomas' invited panelists.

In a speech at the conference, Thomas made his feelings toward immigrants clear.

"We do, as a society, risk being turned into a different society that is less appealing by tolerating what is occurring," he said. Later in the speech, he went on, "I think we're dealing with something that fundamentally changes our democracy, not only in terms of our sense of human rights, [but in] the fact we are tolerating a sub-class of people."

Next, Thomas lobbied hard to pass Proposition 100, the statewide measure that denies bail to illegal immigrants accused, not convicted, of felonies. Since the measure passed, other states have followed suit. In Colorado, a bill to deny bail to illegal immigrants is part of a package of legislation for 2008 and in May of this year, Oklahoma's governor signed the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, which denies bail to illegal immigrants and also fines employers who knowingly hire them. Similar measures are under consideration in Nebraska and Idaho.

Oklahoma representative Terrill says Arizona's Prop 100 was a model for the bail provision of his state's act.

"I snatched the no bail provision from you guys," he says.

Thomas fought the judiciary tooth and nail to see it enforced as harshly as possible, going so far as to have attorney Dennis Wilenchik attempt to publicly humiliate judges who refused to fall in line.

Tamar Jacoby says these kinds of state actions are only making the problem worse.

"Arizona is the place where emotions are running highest in the whole country," she says. "Arizona is like an infected tooth. It's inflamed and everything makes it worse."

By the spring of 2006, Thomas had successfully added an important weapon to his arsenal — a guy with his own arsenal, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Local police departments weren't willing to enforce immigration or state smuggling laws, but Arpaio was.

But despite his posturing on the topic, Arpaio has yet to truly dismantle any organized smuggling rings.

In fact, he stumbled upon his biggest bust to date by accident, when his deputies picked up several barefoot, shirtless immigrants running through the streets of El Mirage.

It turned out the men had escaped from a nearby drop house, where they led the deputies. The discovery was the result of pure luck, not investigative excellence.

Nonetheless, what the sheriff's deputies discovered shined a shocking light on the inside of a drop house, and the serious ramifications Arizona's anti-smuggling law could have for victims of smuggling.

In mid-October, sheriff's deputies responded to reports that a number of "illegals" were running shirtless and barefoot through the streets of El Mirage. When rounded up, deputies learned the immigrants had escaped from a drop house where they'd been held hostage.

The inside of the house was disgusting. The bedroom doors were locked from the outside, and in each room, deputies discovered jugs of human waste. Torn, bloody underwear was discovered in one room. The kitchen was filthy with grease and old food, and there was no furniture, only makeshift beds.

One of the victims, the owner of the bloody clothes, was a pregnant teenager.

Her husband, identified only as "Angel" in the report, re-created the scene for police officers:

As soon as they arrived at the drop house, he and his wife were stripped of their possessions and locked in a room. The smugglers made phone calls to his family in Chiapas, Mexico, demanding $3,200 — on top of a set smuggling fee. Angel was "advised that if he didn't pay, he was going to die."

He witnessed many beatings inside the house, but the worst was the beating of his wife. When her family could not immediately pay her ransom, she was dragged by her wrist from the room.

For the next half hour, he could hear his wife screaming and crying from the next room. When she returned, badly beaten, she said she'd been punched in the stomach. She miscarried inside the house.

Another man told sheriff's deputies what happened to him when he arrived at the house on October 2. As soon as he entered the house, the coyotes took his identification, his wallet, and all of his personal belongings and locked him in a room with about 14 other people. He called the coyotes "kidnappers" because they would not release him until his fees were paid.

This transport fee for this particular victim was bumped $200, from $2,500 to $2,700, upon his arrival in Phoenix. He told police that the coyotes would call his wife demanding more money and beat him because she didn't have it. This happened to a number of people trapped in the home who were told that if their relatives did not pay up, they would be killed and dumped in the desert.

When he was caught trying to escape, the man was taken to a bathroom, where he was tortured and almost suffocated with a plastic bag.

Another man in the same room was beaten and threatened by guards for making too much noise.

According to the police report, one of the coyote guards, "placed the nose of the gun on [his] neck and told [him] that he has killed lots of people, and that his hands were itching to kill another."

The man's offense? He was praying.

These are the apparent effects of the smuggling law. According to activists and members of the legal community, the worst thing about the law is that it views victims as criminals. All the people discovered in the El Mirage drop house are subject to felony charges under Arizona law. In an uncharacteristic move, of the 54 people discovered, only five were booked on conspiracy to commit human-smuggling charges. The rest were released to ICE custody for voluntary return to their home country. Because the sheriff will not talk to New Times about the case, it's unclear why his deputies made this decision.

Even if victims are deported without charges, the threat of arrest and time in the county jail still looms.

"They are defenseless," says Phoenix lawyer Daniel Ortega. "These are the people the sheriff and the county attorney are going after. The people who are the most vulnerable."

It's telling that none of the men picked up in El Mirage phoned the police for help. Thomas and Arpaio spread fear of the police by feverishly trumpeting the number of arrests and convictions under the law. Other states, like Oklahoma, are considering passing similar laws because of it. But the numbers aren't exactly what they seem.

Since March 2006, Arpaio's deputies have charged at least 800 people with conspiracy to commit smuggling, and Thomas' office recently boasted of its 500th conviction.

Most of the pollitos, the slang word for people who pay for transport to the U.S., are offered the chance to plead guilty to the reduced charge of solicitation (rather than conspiracy) to commit human smuggling. After they take the plea, they are sentenced to unsupervised probation and turned over to ICE for voluntary removal from the country.

Antonio Colón, a lawyer in the Maricopa County public defender's office who has defended many of these cases, says most people don't want to stay and fight the charge.

"They have the option to get probation and get released to ICE. Clients just say, 'I want to get out.' They don't know why they are incarcerated. They don't understand what's going on. And telling them, 'You conspired to smuggle yourself into the country,' doesn't make any sense," he says. "As soon as they get a hearing, they're told, 'We'll give you the ticket home [if you plead guilty]' and they all want the ticket home because they've been incarcerated for no reason. It's kind of sad."

Once an immigrant is deported, it becomes a felony to enter the United States without inspection. Capture can lead to time in federal prison. If an immigrant is deported with a felony charge — as the people in the smuggling cases are — there is no way he or she can ever apply for and get lawful entry to the United States ever again.

The law quickly drew national attention from civil rights groups including the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Los Angeles. Peter Schey, executive director of the center, has been involved in fighting the law since the first arrests were made.

"We became involved because of the extreme nature of the policy adopted by Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio," he says. "They're the only federal or state officials in the country who have adopted the position that migrants may be charged under criminal anti-smuggling laws with the conspiracy to smuggle themselves. We believe that Thomas and Arpaio's position is entirely without legal justification."

In November 2006, Schey helped a group of local activists, professors, and immigrants charged under the law file a class-action suit to fight it.

Schey has a multi-pronged argument. First, he says, the county attorney is violating the intent of the law — a claim that representative Paton, the man who authored it, has repeatedly backed up.

"If you look at my statements in the hearing committee itself, they were pretty clear," he says. "Under questioning, I stated the purpose was to go after smugglers."

Schey argues the law is unconstitutional.

"We believe they are intruding into an area in which the federal government maintains exclusive jurisdiction," he says. "The federal government has enacted comprehensive laws dealing with immigrant smuggling and has clearly preempted local officials from implementing the type of policy being pursued by Arpaio and Thomas."

He also worries that sheriff's deputies aren't equipped to effectively enforce immigration law. He knows of at least one case in which a minor was indicted on smuggling charges along with the rest of the group she was arrested with. She sat in the county jail for three months.

The girl, Rosa Diaz-Godines, could not be contacted for this story, but her lawyer, Geoff Fish, confirms that she was obviously underage.

"She looked really young. She insisted she was 18, but I didn't believe her, and she finally admitted she was not," he says.

On her way across the desert, someone had told her that if she said she was 18, she would be allowed to stay in America. So, she refused to admit her real age. Once Fish was able to obtain her birth certificate from Mexico and prove she was underage, she was released. About a month after her release, she became eligible for a green card.

"They're not sufficiently familiar with immigration law to determine who can be here and who can not," says Schey. "They assume everyone who is transported by a smuggler is here illegally without considering whether that person might be eligible for a visa as a trafficking victim, as a crime victim, as an unaccompanied minor, or as a person who can seek asylum. They don't have the capacity to determine those questions and they don't seem to care about them."

The civil class-action suit Schey helped file is now before Judge Robert C. Broomfield in federal district court.

On a local level, very few individual cases have made it to trial. The County Attorney's Office would not confirm how many cases have gone before a jury, but a press release from the office names only one jury conviction. Juan Barragan-Cierra was arrested in June 2006 along with three other men and indicted on charges of human smuggling, for smuggling himself into the state. A jury found him guilty, and in December 2006, he was sentenced to two years unsupervised probation and ordered not to remain in the United States illegally. His lawyer, public defender Carissa Jakobe, is appealing the case.

At least one judge has ruled the convictions don't hold up.

In the case of Adolfo Guzman-Garcia, who was convicted by a jury, Judge Timothy O'Toole dismissed the charges after the trial.

Guzman-Garcia was arrested in May 2006 along with 10 others and charged with attempting to smuggle himself into the state. Those with whom he was arrested pleaded guilty and were deported, but Guzman-Garcia posted bond (this was before Proposition 100 was passed) and stayed to fight the case. Though a jury found him guilty of the charges, O'Toole chose to acquit him.

"Evidence showed that the defendant was nothing more than a paying passenger . . . the conspiracy statute does not impose criminal liability on a person who is merely being transported by an alien smuggler for profit or commercial purpose . . . there must be substantial evidence that the person being smuggled also agreed . . . to engage in the offense of human smuggling," he wrote in his ruling.

Antonio Bustamante, a Phoenix lawyer who is working with Schey on the class action lawsuit, says the county attorney knows the best way to ensure a high conviction rate is to push the plea bargains.

"They can't win their cases, so they're taking convictions on the cheap by keeping people incarcerated. You're going to sit there until you cry uncle," he says. "Thomas has no integrity and, to me, is not even a man because of what he's doing. Anyone would rather get out of jail than wait months. That's cowardly, that's not justice and that's not the American way."

Immigrants in drop houses are not the only people in danger. Once they enter the community, they deal with the constant fear of discovery. Getting undocumented immigrants to talk about life in Maricopa County is difficult. They are instinctively distrustful of strangers. When you can be arrested at any moment, you have to be careful whom you invite into your life.

That doesn't mean the undocumented don't have anything to say for themselves. After Alfredo Gutierrez mentioned on his radio program that this story was being written, he received calls during the rest of the day from people who wanted to talk about life without a green card. Most people did not want to say their names or meet in person. Even when a respected Hispanic leader tells immigrants whom they can trust, they don't want to take the chance.

Daniela, the mother of five whose oldest child was almost stolen by a coyote, is one of the few immigrants contacted by New Times brave enough to speak candidly about her fears.

She lives down the street from a known drug dealer, which puts her children in a potentially dangerous situation every day.

"I know where they are selling and I know their name, but I am not going to say nothing. First, when the police come they could have the right to ask me about my situation. I don't know what's going to happen after," she says. "Second, I am afraid about the drug dealers. He [Arpaio] is supposed to fight with those persons, not with me."

But undocumented immigrants like Daniela are exactly whom he wants to fight. One hundred sixty of his deputies and jail officers have been cross-trained as immigration officers, a program known as 287-g after the section of the national Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act of 1996 that makes this legal.

The program is intended for local law enforcement to go after known violent, criminals — human smugglers for example — and, if they are undocumented, initiate removal proceedings without waiting on ICE.

In theory, the 287-g training that the Sheriff's Office signed up for is designed to catch people like the drug dealer down the street from Daniela and the coyotes who brutalized the people in the drop house in El Mirage — people who are known criminals. Arizona is not the only state with this funding and training available, nor was it the first to get it. Twelve states have officers cross-trained under the program. But Maricopa County has the more 287-g officers than any other county or state.

Linda Chavez, of the conservative think tank Center for Equal Opportunity, says it's a good program when used sensibly.

"You need to have police departments checking people who have been arrested for other offenses to see if the person is in the country illegally. You don't want to let someone go who is a flight risk," she says. "But you don't want them pulling people over and harassing them over a broken turn signal. Do you really want them doing an immigration check? You're hassling someone for something extremely minor when someone else could be doing something serious."

But Arpaio announced from the beginning that he had no problem arresting illegal immigrants for crimes like jaywalking or spitting on the sidewalk.

"Ours is an operation where we want to go after illegals, not the crime, first," Arpaio told the Republic in March. "It's a pure program. You go after them and you lock them up."

He didn't waste any time. His office is now notorious for traffic stops that turn into deportations as well as arrests of food vendors and day laborers around the Valley.

Father Glen Jenks of Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopalian Church in Cave Creek found his parish at the center of the fight after Arpaio made it a point to station deputies outside a day-labor center the church operates in its parking lot. Jenks says the church started the center as a way to keep day laborers from wandering the streets, a major complaint in the northeast Valley community.

"That created a chilling effect. They've created terror in the Hispanic community. The consequence of that is whatever the percentage of the population that's Hispanic can't report a crime," he says. "They can't even let themselves witness a crime."

Activist Alfredo Gutierrez says that's the point.

"The intent is to Satanize a group of people. He's made them morally equivalent to real criminals," he says. "The guy walking down 34th street looking for a job has got to be as dangerous a criminal as a child molester."

Jenks says that in his parish (which he points out is about 80 percent Anglo conservative Republicans) the sheriff is losing respect.

"These are not people who have a stake in the issues we're talking about," he says. "They just have a sense that the sheriff and his deputies are gunslingers and do not really respect them or trust them at all. They've told me this point blank.

The Department of Public Safety, which has 10 cross-trained officers, has adopted a different approach. It is using the training to go after people who involved in known criminal activity.

Sergeant Fred Zumbo, a DPS officer who has had the 287-g training, says DPS is more focused on bringing down organized crime rings.

"Our goal is to get into the organizations and cripple them," he says. "But the corn vendor on the street is not a law enforcement problem. We are small and focused on the human smuggling aspect of the law because those are the ones causing the most problems in the community."

Until recently, local police chiefs, most notably in Phoenix and Mesa, have shared this sentiment and resisted the pressure to become immigration enforcers. But earlier this month, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon announced he'd appointed a four-man committee to consider repealing a public order that prohibits the Phoenix police from questioning immigration status.

So far, Mesa police Chief George Gascon has stayed strong in his stance against the sheriff's policies, though not without consequences — Arpaio has recently made it a point to step on the chief's toes.

Gascon declined an interview for this story. His public information officer, Chris Arvaio, says he's decided to stick to addressing the issue at press conferences rather than grant individual interviews anymore. Every time he does, the sheriff retaliates.

"After the first couple interviews we found out real quick that we don't want to play political games," says Arvaio. "I think he [Gascon] is tired of every time he makes a comment it turns into a game."

And, in spite of Gascon's stance on the matter, the Mesa City Council decided in early December to send a letter to Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security, asking for immigration training for Mesa police officers in their jails. So far, there is no push to train officers on patrol.

The situation with the police has become so bad that even legal immigrants and citizens are afraid. Miguel Gomez-Acosta, pastor at the Lutheran Mission of San Pedro and member of the Valley Interfaith Project, moved to Phoenix from Seattle last year and still isn't accustomed to living in Maricopa County.

"I carry my passport and I carry my daughter's birth certificate," he says. "I grew up in this country. I served in the military and became a citizen, and despite that, I still have to carry my passport and my daughter's birth certificate because she looks brown. Like me."

There has been at least one case in which his deputies detained a man, Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, who had legal paperwork. He was pulled over outside Good Shepherd of the Hills in Cave Creek and detained for nine hours, even though he had a legal visa. The man's lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Arpaio in federal court.

Antonio Bustamante, the Phoenix lawyer fighting the smuggling law, says probable cause and due process rights are being violated but says that's hard to prove in court. All the witnesses get deported.

"Arpaio is doing racial profiling, though he says he's not. Who's going to prove otherwise — especially people who get thrown out of the country. You got rid of the witnesses. You can do whatever you want," he says. "'The public loves me,' he always touts. 'I'm doing what they people want.' Well, so did [Jim Clark] in Selma."

Arpaio insists that his deputies do not engage in racial profiling. Barnarrdino, a 27-year-old immigrant from Guatemala, disagrees. Barnarrdino came to Arizona six years ago with a coyote, by way of Mexico, after life in Guatemala became too violent for him. When his apartment was robbed by two men carrying a grenade and semiautomatic rifles, he decided it was time to get out of the country, regardless of the consequences in the United States. He says he doesn't regret coming to Arizona to live, but his run-ins with the police have not been pleasant.

About three months ago, he says he was leaving a movie theater with his wife when he caught the eye of two sheriff's deputies.

"I said to my wife, 'Watch, they're going to follow us," he says through a translator on the steps of his central Phoenix church.

They did and one of the deputies pulled him over.

"He came to the car and asked me, 'How many drinks did you have tonight, wetback?' I told him I don't drink," he says. "He asked me, 'Are you a wetback?' I didn't answer, so he made me get out of the car."

The officer forced him to take a Breathalyzer test and conducted field sobriety tests on Barnarrdino. He passed each one. He hadn't been drinking; he'd been at the movies. He says the officer also asked his wife, who is Mexican but has a pale complexion, "What are you doing with a wetback?" The officer also harassed him because his identification was from the Guatemalan consulate.

"I gave him my ID and he asked how much I paid for it. I told him $80 at the consulate office. He asked where I got it and I gave him the address of the consulate," he says. "After a while he let me go, but he told me if he ever sees me again, I will sit in jail for a very long time."

Barnarrdino was very lucky. But the experience stayed with him.

"I'm honestly very afraid. Every morning, I make the sign of the cross and say, 'God, it's up to you,'" he says. When asked if he would report a crime to the police if he witnessed or was the victim of one, he says no: "For what? To be asked for my papers? I don't think so."

The Guatemalan consulate confirms that Barnarrdino is registered with the office and has valid identification.

Undocumented immigrants may not understand their due process rights, but they do understand that Arpaio is a man to be feared. Many have even stopped going to church for fear of getting stopped on the way.

Reverend Sau'l Montiel of Epworth United Methodist Church and his colleagues at the Valley Interfaith Project say they've seen a decline in attendance. Connie Andersen of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church says her congregation feels it in the collection plate. Montiel sees it in the pews as well.

"I would say about one-third have stopped coming," he says.

Those that do show up have fearful prayers.

"The prayer requests on Sunday all say, 'Let us pray not to be arrested this week,'" says Montiel. "That hurts me so much as a pastor."

Andersen knows of people who won't even send their children, who are legal citizens, to youth group anymore, and she worried that her church's annual Virgin de Guadalupe celebration would not happen this year because people are too afraid to leave the house.

"This is a faith tradition," she says. "This is affecting our ability to practice our faith and do it openly."

Andersen was right. Attendance at the Virgin de Guadalupe celebration on December 12 was noticeably down.

"We weren't as packed as usual," she says. "Normally people are hanging from the choir loft to get a place."

Immigrant-related violence is on the rise, according to DPS, Phoenix Police and ICE officials, and it isn't all related to smuggling. Kidnappers know the undocumented family members of their prey would rather figure out a way to pay the ransom than involve the police.

Vincente is the owner of a seafood restaurant in central Phoenix. About a month ago, he was the victim of an attempted kidnapping.

As he was leaving work one night, a group of men in ski masks followed him to his car. When he tried to drive home, they opened fire, shooting at him 18 times, hitting him once in the shoulder. He managed to escape — he says "only God knows why," though his nine years in the Mexican army might have something to do with it — to the safety of his home, where he decided to call the police only because he knew he would die if he did not.

According to the police report, bullet fragments were found all over the road at the scene. No one has been arrested. "There is not enough suspect information to help determine any identity," the report states.

After the attack, Vincente's brother bought a gun because he also owned a restaurant and was afraid of the kidnappers. He was recently caught with the gun and deported for owning it. Ironically, Vincente says, his brother always hated weapons. Undeterred, Vincente says he is armed all the time now. He's afraid the men could come back.

"If they try to kidnap me again, they will kill me. So I will kill them instead," he says. "I'm not going to let them get me. I have a family."

This is not an isolated incident. He knows three other undocumented business owners who have been attacked in the same way. None of the others involved the police; instead, their families paid the ransom.

"They know we can't go to the police, and the police think it's only the coyotes, and it's not," he says. "I know a guy whose brother was kidnapped and he pay the money. He pay $100,000 dollars and they give him back. He don't call the police. He just stay quiet and pay and he is alive."

Though the police haven't found a suspect, Sgt. Joe Tranter, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman, says an attempted kidnapping is likely.

"At face value, if he says he was kidnapped he probably was," he says. "We've got a situation that is out of control."

Troy Henley of ICE says his office has noticed an increase in these kinds of violent crimes by and against immigrants.

"We don't have numbers, but it seems to me the violence associated with human smuggling seems to be up," he says. "We get a lot of referrals from police departments in other places where the relatives will get a call and the person will say, 'I'm in Phoenix. I'm being held in a house and they told me if you don't pay $100,000 they will cut my ears off or cut my fingers off."

Kidnappers know their victims have nowhere to turn. And, according to Fred Zumbo from DPS, the kidnappers are organized criminals who don't care much about possible deportation. They know the way back.

"It's illegal immigrants causing violence against their own people. It's a group of young males between 15 and 30, and it's a very violent breed," he says. "They have had military training. They are brutal. They have no fear of being arrested and they have no fear of assaulting police officers. They'll just as soon shoot you as look at you. And they know they will get away with it."

The sheriff's scare tactics are working, but, perhaps, with unintended consequences. A 37-year-old man who has lived in Phoenix since 1990 calls New Times late one evening in early December. His voice comes cracking through the phone. He's heard about a reporter who wants to talk to immigrants and he's calling to tell his story. His English is shaky and so is his voice.

"I . . . I know who killed somebody, but I am afraid to call the police. The guy who got killed was my coworker," he says. "Everybody knows who killed him, but nobody wants to talk to the police. Nobody wants to be a witness because they will deport you."

He begins to sob. Even though he's pressed for details, he doesn't want to give them. He knows the man's name and the names of the perpetrators but he will not say who they are. Though the victim was his coworker, he cannot reveal where he works.

"I'm sorry, I can't tell you that much."

He's worried that if he talks, the police will come after him and his family.

"If they put in jail the owners of the New Times, what would assure me?" he asks a translator.

According to the little information he's willing to share, the victim was walking home one night when he was shot near his south Phoenix neighborhood.

The knowledge is destroying him, but what is he supposed to do, he wonders. He has two young daughters, and if he gets deported, they will starve. As he talks about the murder, there is the sense that he is weeping not just for his dead coworker, but also for himself, his wife, and his daughters.

His voice cracks.

"I can't talk anymore," he says. "It's too hard, I can't talk right now."

A few days later, he is still uncomfortable talking about what he knows.

"I don't want to talk about that bad thing," he says when contacted a second time. "I don't want to talk about it. I'm afraid."

Even when assured that his identity and phone number will be kept private, he is too terrified to say anything.

"I don't trust nobody," he says. "That's the point."

He will not meet anyone in person whom he doesn't already know.

After another 10 minutes on the phone, he is too frightened to go on.

"I think it's time to stop," he says. "I can't tell you any more."

The line goes dead.

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danilo alvarez
danilo alvarez

latinos son la minoria mas grande en 20 anos seran la mayoria y los hijos de los ilegales etaran acargo del cuidado de todos ustedes y recordaran como trataron a su padres y sera tiempo de pagar asi que mejor cambiemos nuestra actirud y esta estupida idea de nosotros los americanos america es todo el continente no unicamente u.s.a mis ansestros esuvieron en este continente 20 mil anos antes que el primer hombre blanco viniera y mis decendientes estaran 20 mi8l anos despues que el ultimo hombre blanco se aya ido les escrivo en espanol para que se vallan entrenando

Dear Abby
Dear Abby

man yall should just shut ur faces....someone should push joe off a building or something. Arizona sucks ass dude, yall are all dang rasist, kinda sad that you people are still around....VIVA MEXICO CABRONES!!!!!!!!!! dude i cross that border like nothing hahaha

Colt Parker
Colt Parker

What an offensive story. The News Times should think twice when writing such a negative article about Sheriff Arpaio. The article is very one-sided. Sheriff Arpaio is doing his job very efficiently. Seeing how many times he's been reelected, I would be willing to say that the voters of Maricopa County would agree with me. Daniela's story is not unique in the states that share our border with Mexico. She is breaking our laws. It seems to me that the author's stance in this article wishes to reward this irresponsible mother that is here illegally. She wishes to share in our country's prosperity and yet undermines it citizens by not becoming a legal citizen. She and her family are a financial burden on Maricopa County. I have no sympathy for her inability to get a full night's rest, or the fact that she doesn't feel comfortable driving on our roads. Daniela has assumed this burden. She willingly risks herself and her family to possible deportation. The Federal Government has chosen not to peruse or prosecute the vast majority of these illegals. The 10th Amendment of the Constitution makes explicit the idea that the Federal Government may exercise only the powers granted in The Constitution. The Federal Government can compel states to enforce federal laws, or in the case, not enforce laws. Illegal immigration is a direct attack on states sovereignty; states have an obligation to their legal citizens to protect that sovereignty. We as a country should be honored to have a statesman like Sheriff Arpaio enforcing our country's laws. Texas would greatly benefit from having more people in our elected offices with values similar to Andrew Thomas and Joe Arpaio.







don pelf
don pelf

after reading approx. half of the comments it's apparent there are more criminal's in phoenix than honest people. you have a top law enforcement ofc. that is trying to do the job he was elected for and then you only talk trash about him. why don't all you criminal's take all your illegal criminal friend's/family's and go back across which ever border you crossed illegaly! see ya!!!!!!!!

don pelf
don pelf

after reading approx. half of the comments it's apparent there are more criminal's in phoenix than honest people. you have a top law enforcement ofc. that is trying to do the job he was elected for and then you only talk trash about him. why don't all you criminal's take all your illegal criminal friend's/family's and go back across which ever border you crossed illegaly! see ya!!!!!!!!

Get Out
Get Out

So you're scared to leave your house because you are in a country ILLEGALLY!?! Surely you jest! If you are that scared you need to go back to your own country. No matter how horrible it is there at least you are allowed to walk around. Remember Joe is watching... He WILL get you.... the community is watching YOU.


I hear about all the illegals complaining about the horriable conditions they have here in America. But Why Do They Stay? The whole point it is HORRIABLE is so that they will get legal or leave. It is sad how some are treated but its also sad that I have to pay for there medical bills and so on... And They CAN report crimes, I guess they never heard of REMAINING ANONYMOUS... THERE ILLEGAL THIS IS WHY THEY KEEP COMMING HERE BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO STAND UP FOR THEM. I wish that Sheriff was here in Cali maybe we could flush them out, or they can stay in there houses. All illegals are not bad but sosme are. There is a sharp rise in illegals killing and robbing people here in this country because there finger prints are not on file and they think they can get away with the crimes.

Milt Smith
Milt Smith

These illegals need to get the hell out of our country!!! No excuses!!!


For all the Mexicans who disagree, you can leave to, back to your dirty,filthy country mexico


I sure wish we had more Sheriff Joe's in Texas!!! I want to know why anyone from Arizona even considers John McCain? It's a puzzle to me. I live in Texas and we fought McCain all last year on his crazy amnesty bills. Does his temper not bother you? Does his disdain for republicans bother you? Does the fact that he graduated at the bottom of his Annapolis class not bother you? Does it bother you that his wife was caught stealing drugs from her own charity? Does the vision of him debating either the brilliant Hillary or Obama not bother you? (The thought embarrasses me) Do you like high taxes? Does it bother you that he talks about fighting the jihadists but he fought against securing our borders? His popularity in your state remains a mystery to so many of us. Right now the media fails to talk about his many flaws but not to worry, the Dems will talk about them if he gets the monimation.


At least the 40-50 guys on along Mesa drive and Broadway in mesa, az aren't afraid to come out every morning. How can a person who isn't authorized to work, pay state or federal taxes? You have no Social Security number.

And yes legal and illegal immigrants crowd the CPS offices valley wide for assistance, go see for yourself. And all the free clinics and social service locations have the channel on telemundo! Why? They are being catered to just as any other busisness caters to a Niche market. By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream.


Now .... I hope the following 14 reasons are forwarded over and over again until they are read so many times that the reader gets sick of reading them. I have included the URL's for verification of all the following facts.

1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year.


2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.


3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.


4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English!


5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor



6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.


7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.


8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.


9. $200 Billion Dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.


10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US


11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine and marijuana, crossed into the U. S from the Southern border.

Homeland Security Report: http://tinyurl.com/t9sht

12. The National Policy Institute, "estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period."


13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin.


14. "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The

United States ".


The total cost is a whopping . $ 338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR

Are we THAT stupid??? If this doesn't bother you then just delete the message. If, on the other hand, if it does raise the hair on the back of your neck, I hope you forward it to every legal resident in the country including every representative in Washington, D.C. - five times a week for as long as it takes to restore some semblance of intelligence in our policies and enforcement thereof

Geoff Miller
Geoff Miller

Oh Boo Hoo Hoo! Cry me a freaking river.

You break our laws and you think you should be rewarded for it? When a US citizen can go to Mexico and pull these same stunts and not be shot, beaten or thrown in prison (oh, not by coyotes, but by the Federal Police), then you can expect parity. Until then, get the hell out of our country.


I hear very ignorant people commenting on this article. What person would choose a life of fear and hardship? The reason people are fleeing Mexico is due to even greater fears and hardships that they are facing there. We are blessed here in the United States that we do not have organized crimes that come into our homes or businesses, harass us, and take our belongings on a regular basis. I fear that this may come to our country or become of our country. Why do we fear Mexican people, when we should be fearing those who come into our country legally to live amongst us and have plans of terrorism?

My point is that this country is composed of immigrants, legal and illegal. White Americans are not Native to this land. Why don't we send all them back to Europe? The time will come when us, Americans, will be immigrants, and I hope the world will show us more understanding and mercy than we are showing to others. May God show you the same hospitality when you arrive at his footsteps.


People may call it what they want but the truth is: The Bible commands us to be right and justice with strangers and aliens. This includes anyone in our country. Legal or supposed illegal. This state and this sheriffs is disobeying God.

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of host.

Are we immune to God. Shall we tempt Him. We were once aliens ourselves. Have you ever been the outcast. Have you ever been rejected. I amnot a mexican so I say this unbiasly. People need to know what God thinks. The state is not God, the Country is not God. The state and the country need to follow God. Remember where you came from and have compasison on those who are in your shoes.


My parents were both immigrants who came to the United States legally and went through the immigration process and earned their citizenship. I am very proud of them for doing so. I live among many illegal immigrants and have seen how they have manipulated the system for many years, trash our neighborhoods and deserts, kill our police officers and have the attitude that we owe them citizenship because they have smuggled themselves over illegally. Now it is finally catching up to them. I don't care if they cannot sleep at night for fear of deportation or are worried that one of their family members may not come home. They came here illegally and have to take responsibility for their actions. What if we went over and tried the same thing in their country? I don't think the Mexican government would treat us humanely and would make sure that we got our legal rights.


These people need to stop blaming everyone else for their problems. They broke the law, correct? They are Illegal, thats breaking the law. Now they can't sleep & on & on. Anyone who breaks the law has to pay for their actions, sometimes children also pay for their parents mistake. Do it right and you won't have all these problems. ButSTOP BLAMING EVERYONE FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS...


I find it incredibly irritating when I see people say that illegal immigrants are "stealing jobs from HARD-working AMERICANS."

#1: They are not "stealing" jobs. They are doing the jobs that "HARD-working" Americans don't want like cleaning toilets, picking oranges, etc. Americans just want more money for those jobs which will in turn make goods more expensive. BUT if the Americans are so hard-working and actually go to college like they are given the opportunity to, I doubt they want to work flipping burgers at McDonalds anyway. That would be a total waste of a college degree.

#2: AMERICANS, like someone else said, is not a title limited to people in the United States. It includes Canada, Mexico, Central AMERICA and South AMERICA. Therefore, immigrants who come from south of the border are also AMERICAN. So stop calling yourselves that.

#3: READ ALL OF THE COMMENTS BEFORE YOU POST ONE because you obviously did not see the one that states that they are also taxpayers and are not sucking up all of the medical resources.

Get over yourselves and stop being so ignorant. It just leads to racism. I am sure that 90% of people against immigration think everyone who has dark skin is illegal.


Ummmm.......FYI the Joker hasn't made a dent in the illegal population. By his own stats he's arrested 1,500 illegals in the past 2 years. Do the math, it doesn't add up. Divide 41 million dollars in lawsuits by the number of illegals he's arreated and you are really getting your money's worth.

Taxpayer Citizen
Taxpayer Citizen

While I am concerned about the deaths and lack of adequate medical care in the Maricopa County Jails, I am 100% behind Sheriff Joe and all his other efforts to punish and eradicate crime in the Valley, espeically his efforts to apprehend and deport the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are in our country illegally and stealing jobs, housing, benefits, medical and social services from legal citizens and taxpayers.

Shame on the New Times for defending illegal aliens at the expense of taxpaying citizens.

Taxpayer Citizen
Taxpayer Citizen

The illegals should be flushed out.

They're not even supposed to be here in the first place.

They're disproportionately contributing to the crime, gang acitivity, overcrowding, traffic, air pollution, scarce jobs and high housing prices in the valley, all while being here in violation of our laws.

Why the hell does the New Times continue to use it's journalistic influence to defend illegality and lawlessness?

The only conclusion I can come to is that the New Times are closet promoters of anarcy, have no respect for our laws or the will of the people, is thus, an agent of sociopathic decomposition.


If she's so scared, let her go back to Mexico...with the rest of them...why would anyone wanna stay in a place where (as Daniela says) she's terrified - sorry but I have no pity on her or her children (all anchor babies I'm sure)...she should stay in her country, get her visa, and do the legal paperwork to become a citizen...then she won't have to live in fear...otherwise, get out...

I'm sure she's not in fear when she goes to the doctor with her free medical coverage, nor her foodstamps at Food City, nor the other benefits I'm sure she's collecting from us hard working CITIZENS....

Get lost with the sympathy. I have none for criminals. Nor should any upstanding AMERICAN CITIZEN....It's not about race - its not about ethnicity, its about the LAW...why can't you bleeding hearts get that straight.....Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas are doing what no one else will do....protecting our fair state, and following the LAW...Go home Daniela, where you belong, and come back the right way...deal with the paperwork, and become a citizen, then you won't have to be "afraid" to leave your home...you will be welcome with open arms....All of them need to stop breaking our laws, getting benefits that WE are not entitled to, and come here the right way...very simple...

Tortillas D'Lote
Tortillas D'Lote

Which candidate cut a hole in the America flag while illegal aliens cross our border in the background? Does defacing old-glory piss you off?

Which candidate wears an eye-patch like a pirate?

And, did you know there are two women in Arizona's Primary ballot? Will women support Joe's persistent stomping on the Mexicans?




It is truly amazing to see all of these comments by people who are hysterically hell bent on keeping this nation lily white and "pure." You people have your heads in the sand. Illegal immigrants are not criminals. 95% of them come to this country in search of a better life...and they make our lives better and easier too. This so called war on immigration and terrorism is impossible to win. Just as sure as the war on drugs was a losing war, this is a waste of tax dollars and political focus. This issue is pounded over and over again by the racist right wingers who try and detract your focus from the real issues at hand...Health Care, The War in Iraq, and countless other Domestic issues.

It is beyond me how this country is content with being ignorant and uninformed. Why do we refuse to learn another language? Why are we so far behind other countries in so many areas? For ages 25-34 years old we rank NINTH among industrialized nations that has at least a high school degree. And to think...illegal immigrants want to come here to educate themselves and better themselves and you people won't even take advantage of the opportunity you have. You people are PATHETIC!!!!!


Go Sheriff Arpaio. You are our hero!!


Posted on December 10, 2007Two Independent Studies Arrive at Same Conclusion: Illegal Immigrants are Wrongly Accused of Taxing U.S. Healthcare SystemEMAIL PAGEPRINT PAGEEN ESPA�L

Posted by Marisa Trevi�9 November 2007

As the presidential debate deepens, or gets more desperate, it won�t be surprising to hear more and more candidates who are scared of the immigration issue spouting off just plain WRONG information.

What�s sad is that they and their staff are relying on sources whose only intent is not to present the facts but drive public opinion against any facet of humanely resolving the plight of undocumented immigrants.

Whenever studies are released actually supporting the true facts, these same sources are quick to pounce on it and tear it apart like African lions devouring a kill. They accuse the study�s authors of being biased or twisting the statistics in their favor.

So, it�s more than gratifying when two different entities on two different coasts of the nation, independently release studies that say the same thing: �Undocumented immigrants are not a burden on society.�

This week in California, the University of California�s School of Public Health released a report that found undocumented Latino immigrants do not cause a drag on the U.S. healthcare system as they are always being accused.

In fact, the vast majority of undocumented immigrants don�t even have a regular doctor or healthcare provider and only visit the ER as a last resort.

�Low rates of use of health-care services by Mexican immigrants and similar trends among other Latinos do not support public concern about immigrants� overuse of the health care system,� the researchers wrote.

�Undocumented individuals demonstrate less use of health care than U.S.-born citizens and have more negative experiences with the health care that they have received,� they said.

It�s a finding that is repeated in today�s released study by the Immigration Policy Center (IPC), the think tank of the American Immigration Law Foundation.

The IPC study found that:

per capita health care expenditures were 55 percent lower for immigrants than for natives in 1998. On average, immigrants received about $1,139 in health care, compared with $2,546 for native-born residents. Although all immigrants are eligible for emergency medical services, they had lower expenditures for emergency room visits, doctor�s office visits, outpatient hospital visits, inpatient hospital visits, and prescription drugs.

But the IPC study doesn�t stop there.

It also addresses the accusations by defamation critics who say undocumented immigrants overuse government services, increase the poverty rate and don�t pay taxes. The IPC authors are puzzled at where the defamation critics are getting their �supposed� information.

Immigration increases the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by approximately $37 billion each year. And national and state studies find that immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in government services. As for undocumented immigrants, it is a myth that they do not pay taxes. Up to 75% of them pay federal and state income and payroll taxes and all immigrants (legal and undocumented) pay sales taxes and property taxes.

while the poverty rate for U.S.-born citizens increased slightly, it fell slightly for immigrants. And, as immigrants integrate into U.S. society, they work their way out of poverty. For example, the children and grandchildren of Hispanic immigrants have made great strides in closing the economic gap with native-born whites by getting an education, getting better jobs, and earning higher incomes than their parents and grandparents. As a case study, homeownership reflects the economic advancement of the immigrant population, and, in California, the homeownership rates for Latino immigrants rose from 16.4 percent among those who arrived in the U.S. in the last 10 years to 64.6 percent among those who have lived here for 30 years or more.

Some immigration critics exaggerate immigrants� welfare use by measuring the welfare costs of �immigrant households.� These studies include welfare benefits paid to U.S.-citizen children as �immigrant welfare costs� if any member of the child�s household is an immigrant. But, in fact, most legal immigrants are not eligible for publicly financed benefits and undocumented immigrants are not eligible for any public benefits. In addition, the participation rates of non-citizens in some federal benefits programs have been declining.

Putting this study out there is like dangling fresh meat in front of those same hungry lions who can�t digest what the truth is.

Luckily, there�s a whole herd ready to deliver the same message until either the lions give up or wake up � their choice.

U.S. Citizen & Proud
U.S. Citizen & Proud

I agree with Christopher. I arrived with my mother from Poland at the age of 3-1/2. Became a citizen at age 7. It has nothing to do with racism or the color of ones skin. Every u.s. citizen not born here had to become one legally, that's what this is about. If you are here illegally, that is not anyone's problem but your own. I am in America, no one post information in English and Polish. If you can't read or speak English, then learn it, why should I have to learn Spanish and why should that be the second language prosted everywhere? That's a bunch of garbage. So no, its not haters, or just mass hatred. It's this is American and follow the laws if you want to be here. Just like we had to when we came here. Simple as that.


In fact, the increasing number of illegal aliens coming into the United States is forcing the closure of hospitals, spreading previously vanquished diseases and threatening to destroy America's prized health-care system, says a report in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

"The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences," writes Madeleine Pelner Cosman, author of the report. "We judge reality primarily by what we see. But what we do not see can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen."

According to her study, 84 California hospitals are closing their doors as a direct result of the rising number of illegal aliens and their non-reimbursed tax on the system.

"Anchor babies," the author writes, "born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income."

In addition, the report says, "many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue, and Chagas disease."

Malaria was obliterated, but now is re-emerging in Texas. Polio was eradicated from America, but now reappears in illegal immigrants as do intestinal parasites.

Leprosy now is endemic to northeastern states because illegal aliens and other immigrants brought leprosy from India, Brazil, the Caribbean and Mexico.

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons report includes a strong prescription for protecting the health of Americans:

Closing America's borders with fences, high-tech security devices and troops. Rescinding the U.S. citizenship of "anchor babies." Punishing the aiding and abetting of illegal aliens as a crime. An end to amnesty programs.


Illegal Immigration IS A CRIME! PERIOD! Why waste the space of "New Times" with this BS sob story?? This article just made me roll my eyes and go "Please lady, you did it to yourself"!! If I knew where you lived I would call "Illegal immigration hotline".Where is the illegal immigration hotline nubmer anyways!??Yeah, she had her kids in American so they can become American citizens hoping this would help her case which it didn't! I think that is how it goes! Come to the USA illegaly, get pregnant & you will become a citizen. Oh, and they benefit you will food stamps etc & screw out a hard working American in the process!

Behind many of the nation�s millions of undocumented workers are someone else's documents. To get a job, illegal immigrants need a Social Security number, and they often borrow one. U.S. citizens are being forced to share their identities with undocumented immigrants to give corporate America a steady supply of cheap labor!

"Illegal immigration": refers to immigration across national borders in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country! There is the word Daniela! You are ion this country Illegaly! I have no sympathy for you! Cry me a river! man if your read this article & her "POOR PITY ME" article all I can do is laugh! YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF!!!

Under this definition, an illegal immigrant is a foreigner who either has illegally crossed an international political border, be it by land, sea, or air, or a foreigner who has entered a country legally but then overstays his/her Visa in order to live and/or work there. In politics, the term may imply a larger set of social issues and time constraints with disputed consequences in areas such as economy, social welfare, education, health care, slavery, prostitution, crime, legal protections, voting rights, public services, and human rights. Illegal emigration would be leaving a country in a manner that violates the laws of the country being exited.

Illegal Immigration Counters - Home Page The #1 site for real-time illegal immigration statistics, live counters, MONEY WIRED TO MEXICO, SOCIAL SERVICES COSTS, ILLEGALS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Etc!!!


My mother was immigrant but came to this country LEGALLY! My mother came through Ellis Island! My mother who was a Polish emigrant became a naturalized citizen of the United States on March 22, 1955.

I think if your an "illegal immigrant" you have no rights! Period! You hav no rights for a job, state funds I.E. Food Stamps etc! I mean 9.9% off illegal immigrant's can't even speak the English language!! Thank god someone is willing to put a stop to this!

What is sad, for example is that Director Bob Clark (A Christmas Story) and his son, Ariel Hanrath-Clark, 22, were killed in a head-on automobile collision on the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles on the morning of April 4, 2007.Police determined that the SUV's driver, Hector Velazquez-Nava, had a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit and was driving without a license. He initially pleaded not guilty to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, but changed his plea to no contest in August. On October 12, 2007, Velasquez-Nava was sentenced to six years in prison under the terms of a plea agreement. In addition, he may face deportation to his native Mexico, as he entered and was living in the United States "ILLEGALLY"!!


"racist, haters, blah, blah, blah". It's the only argument you have to support the lawbreakers. We want our laws enforced and it has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. Thank God for guys like Joe Arpaio that ignores your bulls**t and enforces the law as it should be. In the coming months it will only get better or from your perspective, worse. :-) There will be more laws and more enforcement.

Felicity Pierce
Felicity Pierce

After teaching 20 years in Dallas, I was pushed into retirement because I only speak English and the poor illegal immigrants' children have to be taught in Spanish. We cannot save all the poor people of the world. The citizens of Arizona are extremely blessed that your state government is doing something about the problem. And have the poor illegal alien mothers ever heard of birth control?They cannot afford to feed themselves but will have one anchor baby after another. I'm fed up. What ever happened to zero population growth? This article is crap and I'm sick of the bleeding heart liberals trying to shove this sh_t down my throat.


"It's worse because here there is a statewide effort. The state Legislature is involved, the executive branch � the governor � is complicit, and at the local level, the worst in the country has to be the Maricopa County sheriff and county attorney, who are abusing their power to harass, intimidate, and create fear in the hearts of dark-skinned people," he says."

It's probably true that dark skinned people are more commonly affected, but it's only because the vast majority of illegal aliens in the county are dark skinned. As long as the sheriff treats all of the persons he arrests the same under the law, this cannot be turned into racial profiling issue. This is just another disgusting attempt to unfairly interject race into the illegal immigration situation.


Daniela and her family live in fear because that's what they chose. Once they broke the law, they knew that they would have to always watch their back because they don't belong here. I have no pity for lawbreakers. They subject their own children to living in fear and, if they are deported, they need to take their children with them. They can have that life. I would not enter a country illegally because I would not want to live in fear all the time. I would try to make life better for myself and for my family where I belong. At least we would lead an honest life and that is far better than living in fear where I don't belong.

Savannah Molina
Savannah Molina

Wow, that is all I am going to say about these negative vicious comments about this poor lady. Now I work at a 95% Hispanic population elementary school in the heart of the illegal immagrants heck some of my students may be illegal, but that does not make me hate them and wish they would get deported. I would rather work with these poor-stricken students than with your snotty, rude, get everythin I want middle-class and upper-class students. I have a student that is 10 years old and has no mother or father because they are being detained at this moment (whatever that means) so he lives in foster homes. How would you like your life right now if you were that kid? The next generation is growing up learning that HATE is the best way to get through life. We HATE the illegal immigrants (get a life), we HATE the President (Can you do better?), we HATE, we HATE, and we HATE. I think society looks and searches for things and ideas to HATE just because we love to HATE and complain. Now these immigrants are not criminals. The druggies, murderers, theives are criminals and these young Mexican mothers that have done no harm to anyone are put in the same place as these American citizens that are the true criminals of the world. If you were raised in Mexico and had a hard life making money you cannot tell me and the rest of the world that you would not do the same thing by trying to live a better life. Who the hell is going to do your landscaping or just mow your damn lawn because you are too lazy to do it? I can tell you nobody. Who is going to make sure the $500 hotel room you sleep in is immaculate and clean when these immigrants are deported? Not an American citizen. Who is going to hand you your fatty Big Mac on your lunch break from your luxorious office job? Do you get my drift? These "illegal" immigrants work harder than you and I will ever in our lives, because they want and need a better life for their children who live in a trailer with 7 people. Maybe you should all take a better look at how and what these immigrants live in before you try to HATE them. Try meeting one of these wonderful people that are just as normal as you and I...maybe not you. These children cry because they will not have a Christmas, their stomachs hurts and they cannot go to the doctor and they die because the cancer spread(true story they had no insurance), their parents are deported and have to live in a group home where they cannot act like a kid, and they live a filthy shack in Phoenix next door to a gang that tag the city streets. But you know what I am only one person that does not HATE everything about my life like most people so what do I know? Lets try to ACCEPT the world and what it has to offer instead of using our one life to HATE everything that passes us by.

Erika Page
Erika Page

People is sick of hate.. bunch of haters...


Doe anybody cringe in horror at the thought of a younjg mother smuggling an 8 month old infant across the border. WHAT WAS SHE THINKING???That is such btalatamntly horrific act of child endangerment it blows my mind. If it were an American citizen committing such an inexcusable act, I would call for a prison sentence as punishment. Why am I suppose to ooze pity when an illegal alien does it?


This extreme debate we see in the comment pages is exactly what is not letting us see the big picture. Arizona has always been a state of immigrants, since the miner workers in Clifton/Morenci a century ago, to the farm workers in Yuma who pick up more than 90% of the crops in the southwest of our nation. Illegal immigration is not a new problem, but if you base the solution to this issue solely on deportation, the very fabric of American humanitarianism and forefront example of civil liberties will be tampered not o have only domestically, but in the eyes of the whole world.

For those �Mexican Americans� that have written that their parents came here legally, I am glad they did, and that now you can enjoy of the decisions that your parents or grandparents made a long time ago. But next time you get pulled over because you LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THOSE WETBACKS you so much despite, you will start thinking on the ongoing anti-Hispanic sentiment growing in these nation for close-minded folks like you.I don�t support illegal immigration, and I would like to stop it today, but I also don� support the ignorance, racism, classism and xenophobic rhetoric that some of you show in your words. The future of our nation will be decided on the way we treat the world and those within our borders. And as the American economy shrinks and the European block flourishes, the example that we once set in the world, as a democracy that embraces foreigners and that understands the struggles of those who are not part of a �host group� but rather a minority, we will either prevail making real solutions to problems, and stopping ourselves from the ignorance injected by nativist activist, or we will fall like that old government we once considered the biggest and fairest, the Roman Empire.

William R. Krutt
William R. Krutt

Man, the author of this piece musta got a hernia or some pulled muscles slapping on all this liberal spin. Put the blame right square where it belongs: Her irresponsibleand illegal parents for dragging her here and putting her in this position/situationin the first place. All of a sudden we have a new class of "victims." Her foolishand inconsiderate parents KNEW it was against OUR laws, and a violation of OUR sovereignty, and chose to go for it anyway. I didn't bring her here. You didn't bringher here. Her assinine, arrogant, "entitled" parents did. As such, the child is illegal, too. Well, solutionis real simple .... deport Paco y Maria and the child. Problem solved. Nobody said being responsible was easy or fair. I can GUARANTEE YOU that had their parents been "popped" by ICE in a workplace raid, they'd have ran like scalded rats and leftthe kid for someone else to take care of. So many illegals parents demonstrated just this same behavior when the meat packing plants were raided. Or has the author of this spin piece and the liberal pro-illegals, pro-amnesty zealots forgotten that too?


Brandy, it is most likely that your Mexican grandparents came to the U.S. between 1920-1940; that time was not so clearly a time of unity. Im sure your Mexican grandparents were forced to learn and speak English and it is not as you describe it that they "learned it and speak it with great pride." By the way, around that time (1921) Mexicans were specifically excluded from immigration restrictions. The U.S.-Mexican border remained open. No paperwork to fill out just hope on the train and you were here. WOW!!! that was easy and LEGAL!


According to the dictionary, an American is "a Native or Inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere" which includes people from South and North America and not only people from the United States. So PLEASE stop calling yourself Americans. Im a real American; more "American" than anyone else. I am a proud Native American!


DARLENE: Nice copy and paste. Do your own homework!


About this article: Great Job for reporting this issue as it is!


darlene,loved your piece on the mexican constitution.i now understand why poverty is so prevalent in mexico.since when did mexico become an economic powerhouse,last i knew they,re economy was still considered third world.enough about that.boy talk about your modern day "grapes of wrath" for those of you to young to remember,it,s a true story of hard working mid-western farmers fleeing from the raveges of the dust bowl era,heading for california to find work.and being stopped at the calif. border,and the abuses they endured once they got there.woody guthrie told a story of three hungry dogs who come upon a chunk of meat,for this story we,ll call one dog pro-american,the other dog pro-immigrant,the third dog we,ll call big business.the first two dogs get into a knock-down drag out fight.when the fight is over they,re both so beat and bloody niether one can stop the third dog from taking the chunk of meat.big business created this problem,not the man on the street.if you don,t believe me look at who opposed prop.100.wake up folks when this law is enacted and if it,s enforced,business is going to increase the cost of everything and laugh at you all the way to the bank,and the worker on the street will still be part of the 40,000,000 million americans who have no health ins. .which every think tank conservative or liberal agree is the major cause of our failed health care system,not the illegal immigrant.have you ever recieved a call from a tele-marketer and wondered where they were calling from?this past christmas how many toys did you find made in america?how many good american,s drive honda,s,toyota,s,kia,s,bmw,s,mercedes?even if those car,s are made in america the corporate profits go back to they,re respective countries.a lot of police force,s in this country use india@pakistan to handle they,re 911 switchboards.today the argument is over the blue collar worker,but if your part of the white collar world and your job requires the use of a computer or telephone just remember computers like cash does noy reconize national borders.just ask bill gates.but i,m sure the bigots will find a way to blame the mexican for this.of course this is just my opinion and i could be wrong.

Mary Cogburn
Mary Cogburn

What a dumb story. If a "coyote" stole her money, how did she pay a woman $600 to smuggle her son? Call me a waaaambulance!!

Lonnie Faubion
Lonnie Faubion

When is the press going to quit sugar coating these issues. All I read are statment like immagrents, undocumented workers ect. Why can't you tell it like it is. These are illegal alians that have broken out immagration laws to be here. It's ironic that the ones going back have to obtain birth certificats and passports to get back into their own country.


Illegal aliens see America as a land of chumps. Well, maybe that was the case for a while, but it's being reversed now.

Illegal aliens made a choice, and things aren't going their way lately. It's only gonna get worse for illegal aliens. They would be best advised to leave, leave now, and take their kids with them so they don't have to whine about being separated from "family" (or babies that they purposefully traveled to America to have, using Emergency room services in hospitals to help them along.)

Let's see what the Mexican Constitution says:The Mexican constitution expressly forbids non-citizens to participate in the country's political life. Non-citizens are forbidden to participate in demonstrations or express opinions in public about domestic politics. Article 9 states, "only citizens of the Republic may do so to take part in the political affairs of the country." Article 33 is unambiguous: "Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country."

The Mexican constitution denies fundamental property rights to foreigners. If foreigners wish to have certain property rights, they must renounce the protection of their own governments or risk confiscation. Foreigners are forbidden to own land in Mexico within 100 kilometers of land borders or within 50 kilometers of the coast. Article 27 states,

"Only Mexicans by birth or naturalization and Mexican companies have the right to acquire ownership of lands, waters, and their appurtenances, or to obtain concessions for the exploitation of mines or of waters. The State may grant the same right to foreigners, provided they agree before the Ministry of Foreign Relations to consider themselves as nationals in respect to such property, and bind themselves not to invoke the protection of their governments in matters relating thereunto; under penalty, in case of noncompliance with this agreement, of forfeiture of the property acquired to the Nation. Under no circumstances may foreigners acquire direct ownership of lands or waters within a zone of one hundred kilometers along the frontiers and of fifty kilometers along the shores of the country." (Emphasis added)

The Mexican constitution denies equal employment rights to immigrants, even legal ones, in the public sector. Article 32: "Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions, or commissions of the Government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable. In time of peace no foreigner can serve in the Army nor in the police or public security forces."

The Mexican constitution guarantees that immigrants will never be treated as real Mexican citizens, even if they are legally naturalized. Article 32 bans foreigners, immigrants, and even naturalized citizens of Mexico from serving as military officers, Mexican-flagged ship and airline crew, and chiefs of seaports and airports:

"In order to belong to the National Navy or the Air Force, and to discharge any office or commission, it is required to be a Mexican by birth. This same status is indispensable for captains, pilots, masters, engineers, mechanics, and in general, for all personnel of the crew of any vessel or airship protected by the Mexican merchant flag or insignia. It is also necessary to be Mexican by birth to discharge the position of captain of the port and all services of practique and airport commandant, as well as all functions of customs agent in the Republic."

An immigrant who becomes a naturalized Mexican citizen can be stripped of his Mexican citizenship if he lives again in the country of his origin for more than five years, under Article 37. Mexican-born citizens risk no such loss.

Foreign-born, naturalized Mexican citizens may not become federal lawmakers (Article 55), cabinet secretaries (Article 91) or supreme court justices (Article 95).

The president of Mexico, like the president of the United States, constitutionally must be a citizen by birth, but Article 82 of the Mexican constitution mandates that the president's parents also be Mexican-born citizens, thus according secondary status to Mexican-born citizens born of immigrants.

The Mexican constitution forbids immigrants and naturalized citizens to become members of the clergy. Article 130 says, "To practice the ministry of any denomination in the United Mexican States it is necessary to be a Mexican by birth."

The Mexican constitution singles out "undesirable aliens." Article 11 guarantees federal protection against "undesirable aliens resident in the country."

The Mexican constitution provides the right of private individuals to make citizen's arrests. Article 16 states, "in cases of flagrante delicto, any person may arrest the offender and his accomplices, turning them over without delay to the nearest authorities." Therefore, the Mexican constitution appears to grant Mexican citizens the right to arrest illegal aliens and hand them over to police for prosecution.

The Mexican constitution states that foreigners may be expelled for any reason and without due process. According to Article 33, "the Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action."

Notional policy options

Mexico and the United States have much to learn from one another's laws and practices on immigration and naturalization. A study of the immigration and citizenship portions of the Mexican constitution leads to a search for new policy options to find a fair and equitable solution to the immigration problem in the United States.

Two contrary options would require reciprocity, while doing the utmost to harmonize U.S.-Mexican relations:

1. Mexico should amend its constitution to guarantee immigrants to Mexico the same rights it demands the United States give to immigrants from Mexico; or

2. The United States should impose the same restrictions on Mexican immigrants that Mexico imposes on American immigrants.

These options are only notional, of course. They are intended only to help push the immigration debate in a more sensible direction. They simply illustrate the hypocrisy of the Mexican government's current immigration demands on the United States - as well as the emptiness of most Democrat and Republican proposals for immigration reform.

Mexico certainly has every right to control who enters its borders, and to expel foreigners who break its laws. The Mexican constitution is designed to give the strongest protections possible to the country's national security. Mexico's internal immigration policy is Mexico's business.

However, since Mexican political leaders from the ruling party and the opposition have been demanding that the United States ignore, alter or abolish its own immigration laws, they have opened their own internal affairs to American scrutiny. The time has come to examine Mexico's own glass house.


Palm trees don't grow all across America, only in certain climate zones. Nobody "deserves" to be abused, that is sick and twisted. That has not even been brought up here, except by you. Quit projecting.

Frank G.
Frank G.

All we ever hear as a solution from the anti-immigrant crowd is to "just go home." I wish this problem was that easy. The problem is people who continue to employ illegals, including your neighbors who hire the day laborer to trim the palm trees. Not just here, but all across the country. Until we have comprehensive employer sanctions, the problem will remain.

As far as immigrant on immigrant violence, it is here and it is real. We must deal with it. In a perfect world we wouldn't have the problem. But to say a fellow human being "deserves" to be abused because they are here illegaly is really cold hearted.

I am not pro-immigrant, we just need a solution to a problem which has been growing in the past 10 years.


Brilliant Karen!

Simple, profound and brilliant!

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