This is what stands for progress in Arizona: The mere fact that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery feels the need to rationalize the way his office prosecutes undocumented workers, hitting them with multiple forgery counts, thus ensuring that they will be denied bond and eventually deported.

Disgraced, disbarred ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Monty's old boss, would not have bothered with excuses. Thomas was proud of the ruthlessness with which his prosecutors persecuted an entire class of people.

On more than one occasion, Thomas stated under oath and to the media that the system he devised to charge undocumented workers in such a fashion — so as to make them non-bondable, coerce guilty pleas from them, and ensure their removals — was all part of his "no amnesty" policy.

Nine-year-old Sara Blanco (right) and her sister, Diana, at a recent Puente protest of Bill Montgomery: Their mother, grandmother, and grandfather are being held without bond under multiple felony counts of working with false identification.
Stephen Lemons
Nine-year-old Sara Blanco (right) and her sister, Diana, at a recent Puente protest of Bill Montgomery: Their mother, grandmother, and grandfather are being held without bond under multiple felony counts of working with false identification.

Montgomery is a different kind of Republican, more subtle and cunning than Thomas, who was so good at playing the shameless, hysterical ideologue.

By contrast, Monty's made sure to court Latinos and progressives in his own way, signing on to the so-called SANE immigration plan, a lukewarm local version of comprehensive immigration reform.

This courtship continues, despite Thomas' campaigning in 2010 as a hard-right nativist, which I pointed out when the SANE plan first was announced.

So when a group of valiant immigration and criminal attorneys held a press conference in mid-February at the county courthouse to demand that Monty end this Thomas-era policy, he quickly called a press conference of his own to answer allegations of discriminatory practices and the over-charging of Latino defendants.

"I am enforcing the law as it is written," Monty said when confronted with Thomas' statements. "I'm not sure what someone else's justification might have been. [Andrew Thomas is] no longer the county attorney."

Ignoring recent history is convenient for Monty, but for those who have suffered under Thomas versus those who have suffered under Montgomery, the intellectual justification matters not.

But it matters to the supporters of SANE, an august list of progressive groups, Arizona businesses, and prominent individuals.

Montgomery has pitched himself to SANE as a sort of Nixon going to China, an arch-right-winger who can venture where other conservatives dare not tread.

Essentially, he has some of the SANE folks snowed into believing that his hands are tied when it comes to how, say, workers caught in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's migrant-hunting raids are prosecuted.

How do I know some of them are snowed? Because they've tried making these arguments to me, off the record, essentially defending Montgomery and buying into his baloney.

Almost all the attorneys I've spoken with about the subject disagree with Monty and his defenders, who contend he has no choice in the matter of charging the undocumented.

One of these critics is Michael Neufeld, a Phoenix attorney who practices both immigration and criminal law and handles several of these cases a year.

"[Montgomery] absolutely has the power, the decision on how to charge things, and on what plea offers to make to [defendants]," Neufeld told me.

See, Arizona has several laws under which the MCAO can prosecute someone who has been working under a false Social Security number or with a fake identity.

But from jump, Montgomery's prosecutors hit these undocumented moms and dads with multiple class-four felony charges — usually forgery or taking the identity of another — making them ineligible for bond, according to Proposition 100, which was approved by the state's voters in 2006.

To give you an idea of how nearly universal granting bond is, murder suspect Jodi Arias, who has admitted to the brutal slaying of her lover, Travis Alexander, is being held under $2 million bond.

Prohibitively high, sure. But under Prop 100, a worker alleged to have put a fake Social Security number on an employment file has zero opportunity for bail, and thereby is deemed worse than Arias under Arizona law.

The MCAO could charge undocumented workers with a misdemeanor or a class-six felony. If they're granted bond in state court but have holds placed on them by ICE, they would be turned over to ICE, which probably would bond them out as well.

However, the MCAO has a policy of going for class-four felonies.

In the past, according to Neufeld and other attorneys, Montgomery's office sometimes offered plea deals to felonies that do not have adverse immigration effects.

But Neufeld and others say Montgomery's office now want defendants to "plead to the lead," leaving them with a Hobson's choice: plead guilty and face deportation, or sit in Arpaio's gulags with thugs, thieves, and killers until trial, which could take six months, maybe more, to happen.

That's one reason these cases rarely go to trial, no matter how weak the case.

Monty swears up and down, despite Thomas' past statements to the contrary, that the MCAO does not charge defendants to affect their immigration cases once they are turned over to ICE.

"I'm not coordinating my efforts [with ICE] in that regard," Montgomery stated during his presser, adding, "I'm not going to chase after particular convictions or particular statutory charges to file . . . to guarantee or anticipate immigration consequences."

Yet that statement is directly contradicted by an ICE PowerPoint presented to MCAO attorneys in January 2012. I published the PowerPoint presentation recently after obtaining it through a public-records request to the MCAO.

The document spells out the "litigation challenge" faced by ICE attorneys when those convicted of certain statutes are turned over to ICE custody.

And it offers a solution, stating that there's "no problem if" certain subsections of the law are used to charge and convict the individual, thereby offering a blueprint for deportation.

The presentation took place on county property and was coordinated by Montgomery's office. His attorneys were given a "continuing legal education" credit for their attendance.

Several immigration attorneys have told me that one of the ICE presenters actually bragged to them about helping the MCAO ensure deportation.

And more than one defense lawyer has informed me that MCAO prosecutors have admitted that they must seek certain charges and are forbidden to offer certain plea deals — the idea being to mess up a defendant's chances of remaining in the country.

Interestingly, the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2010 decision Padilla v. Kentucky, noted that criminal convictions and the possibility of deportation are "enmeshed," stating that "informed consideration" of possible deportation could assist both prosecutors and defense counsel, helping them "craft a conviction and a sentence" that reduces the likelihood of deportation.

Monty is doing the exact opposite, which is why he's getting denounced by groups such as the League of United Latin American Citizens and the civil rights group Puente, which recently held a demonstration, led by 9-year-old Sara Blanco and her two older sisters, in front of Monty's downtown office.

The three girls wept as they described how their mother, grandmother, and grandfather were held non-bondable under several felony counts after they were picked up in a recent MCSO raid of a Tempe clothing company.

Montgomery, stung by the resulting bad press, has reached out to Latino groups, trying to convince them that he is a just man and has no choice but to make these little ones cry.

My advice to local Latinos: Whenever Monty tries to tell you that he has no choice, remember Sara's tears and challenge him to end this cruel charade.

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73 comments
toystoreyspot
toystoreyspot

Those "people" broke the laws!!....why do mexicans insist on thinking that the laws do not apply to them?...this is just another in a very long line of hispanic arrogances. That was real good of the news to shove the camera in that little girls face crying to "let my gramma go", trying to make them seem like the victim. The victim is the identities they have STOLEN!!...and these "people" want a legal status? Those other "people" that were screaming and crying racsim need to learn just what that word means. I have NO sympathy for them, they knew dam well what they were doing was against the law, they got caught, but they will most likely be let go to do it all over again...and that is the biggest injustice of them all...scums, every last one of them....

DNichols
DNichols

In 2003 in the wake of September 11th 2001, Janet Napaolitano while running to be Governor of Arizona had a Radio Campaign Commercial which said:  "If elected Governor I will get more Federal Dollars for Arizona because we've got Lots of Border."

The Federal Magic Money Tree has now been Raped at the U.S. Mexico Border.

It had absolutely nothing to do with Drugs or Immigration.

After Mrs. Napolitano won the election Local Arizona News crews were sent to the U.S. Mexico Border near San Luis Mexico/Yuma, they did a Big Blown out of praportion Story about a few little Mexican Children crossing the Border and attending a small U.S. Elementary School.

The National Guard was sent to "Big Deal The New Border War."

This Story was put on National/Word News, and did as it was intended , it outraged a Nation that after the September 11th 2001 Tragedy was filled with Hate, and looking for some one to blame.

The New "Phony Border War was Born."

Racism, and Hate took off like wild Fire, now Supremacist could be Racist, and use the excuse of "Inforcing our Laws."

Sometimes even the almighty "Law" must be tempered with Curcumstances, and our True Principles, and Ideals?!

To: Liberty.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Mr. Lemons, Great journalism, keeping the public informed. Those who have protected the MCAO in the local media have helped create the problems the people have been facing. It takes courage to write the truth rather than white wash it with sound-bytes that the MCAO knows how to use to keep the public in the dark.

danxranx
danxranx

Sounds like a very solid plan to me man, I think I like it. Wow.


www.Anon-Net.da.bz

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

This comment is too good to be buried amidst the GOP paid trolls.

DNichols2 days ago

January 2008 began the E-verify Law, the Hitler like I.C.E. Deportation/Incarceration Programs, which have seperated Thousands of U.S. Families, and Persecuted Millions of un-documented Immigrants and Millions of their Legal Citizen Children/Family Members.

January 2008 also began the Foreclosure Crisis, The Mortgage Crisis, the "Great Recession", the Bail Out Programs, and our New Ballooning National Deficit.

This is No Co-incidence!

The States that Deported/Incarcerated the most Immigrants are the Hardest Hit with Foreclosures, and Economically.

The Hard Labor Immigrants gladly did for America was the very Foundation of our "Strong Economy", and the twenty-five year period prior to the January 2008 start of the "Anti-Immigrant Rant" lead by Russell Pearce, and his Supremacist Pals was infact "The Most Prosperous Time in Total U.S. History."

"America is great because it is good, when it ceases to be good, it ceases to be great."

Alex De Toqueville, a very wise 1840's French Historian.

This is our I.C.E.'d Economy.

I.C.E. "Put the Car in the Ditch".

To Repair America, stop the Racism, and Hate.

This is America's Darkest Hour.

This Great Nation of Immigrants was Built on Far Better Principles, and Values than to Rip good Parents from their Legal Citizen Children!

To: Good,

Steve70
Steve70

Here's another "BOO-HOO" story. Why don't you spend your time on something more with dealing with the citizens concerns such as the hungry, homeless, and abused children in this state. I know they are not worth your effort to improve their condition, but if you put forth the same effort, as you do with the criminal illegal alien problem, i'm sure these kids would be very grateful. But, you won't get your behind kissed, so you just tell these abused children they're not worth it to you. Write about the shortage of battered womens shelters, the children in the homeless family school, and maybe expose the so-called parents who have had their children removed because of abuse. Those poor children crying should be your number one concern, NOT the results of the illegal aliens getting caught, which they knew and accepted when they came here. Help the abused children and feel proud. Getting your behind kissed by illegals is not a GOOD feeling.

Francisco Cortez
Francisco Cortez

Republicans only acknowledge history when it swings their way *smh

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

It's despicable that you talk about separating families. Like we really care. How many times have I heard you oppose locking up American citizen mothers and fathers that separate them from their kids. But do you care about them? Of course not.  Truth is, if you don't want to be called an illegal alien don't come to the United States Illegally.

john04301
john04301

I would like someone to explain to me how unskilled minimum wage laborer's are going to contribute. IF they all get instant amnesty and are required to pay federal taxes and state tax on their minimum wage they would be required to file their income tax each year and record their deductions (mainly children) it would seem they would get a huge winfall more money then they put in. How is that helping ? i understand citizens  are entitled to the same deductions.

DNichols
DNichols

January 2008 began the E-verify Law, the Hitler like I.C.E. Deportation/Incarceration Programs, which have seperated Thousands of U.S. Families, and Persecuted Millions of un-documented Immigrants and Millions of their Legal Citizen Children/Family Members.

January 2008 also began the Foreclosure Crisis, The Mortgage Crisis, the "Great Recession", the Bail Out Programs, and our New Ballooning National Deficit.

This is No Co-incidence!

The States that Deported/Incarcerated the most Immigrants are the Hardest Hit with Foreclosures, and Economically.

The Hard Labor Immigrants gladly did for America was the very Foundation of our "Strong Economy", and the twenty-five year period prior to the January 2008 start of the "Anti-Immigrant Rant" lead by Russell Pearce, and his Supremacist Pals was infact "The Most Prosperous Time in Total U.S. History."

"America is great because it is good, when it ceases to be good, it ceases to be great."

Alex De Toqueville, a very wise 1840's French Historian.

This is our I.C.E.'d Economy.

I.C.E. "Put the Car in the Ditch".

To Repair America, stop the Racism, and Hate.

This is America's Darkest Hour.

This Great Nation of Immigrants was Built on Far Better Principles, and Values than to Rip good Parents from their Legal Citizen Children!

To: Good,

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

It should be noted that employers are legally responsible for hiring illegal immigrants. Not the immigrants themselves.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 essentially created the federal E-Verify system and created the I-9 form. The form designed to block the hiring of illegal immigrants.

MontyPug should go after the employers as well. But he doesn't. Presumably because he gets campaign contributions from employers to look the other way. Sad really, especially from a West Point graduate and Army veteran like MontyPug, who led a battery of soldiers in the Gulf War and didn't have a single casualty. His record as County Attorney speaks for itself.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Mr. Lemons, Great journalism.  We get a clear picture of MCAO Montgomery and carrying on the Andrew Thomas-era MO. Thomas had Mark Faull as his chief deputy. MCAO Bill Montgomery also has Mark Faull as his chief deputy. What has changed?  

zinxminx
zinxminx

ICE is about as useless as teh TSA. Worthless!


www.NetAnon.da.bz

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

... and political gain regardless of who gets destroyed in the process. Women and children are the "easy" targets for bullies.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@DNichols  Wow! One of the best informed comments to date. The sick game being played on the people and the taxpayers should be a crime in itself.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

War on America:  Categories created for $$$'s. ICE-ification of America, Immigrants, Drugs, Child abuse / child sex crime industry -- $$$'s for the mass industrial prison complex making the U.S. #1 Jailer in the world. A shameful statistic.

"THE HOUSE I LIVE IN": New Film Exposes Economic, Moral Failure of U.S. War on Drugs. 2 of 2 - YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioYkho-iyN8


john04301
john04301

@truthseekeraz do you realize obama and his administration are responsible for deporting 1.5 million illegal immigrants of which the majority were hardend criminals.As a matter of fact obama has been credited with removing more illegals then any other president combind, it was accomplished  in only 3 short years. I think i was Bill Clinton (another democrat president) who in 1996 sign into law these little tidbit's

1.Increase border personel and technology

2.Viigorously enforce worksite laws against employers who hire illegals

3.ensuring jobs are made for legal worker's

4.Verifying employment authorization

5.Reforming and streamlining deportation proceedures with enhanced exacussion

6.Increase deportation level's to 25% then 50% the following year

 The above list was pass into law before the great recession .

The biggest misjustice of all of this is being played on the american citizen .Our citizens are being mandated to fund all types of programs associated with illegal immigrants and their families, food,housing ,education ,incareration  to name a few.There are no positives to illegal immigration

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Profiting From Human Misery

http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/profiting_from_human_misery_20130217/
excerpt: “I am in family court once every six to eight weeks representing some mother who is surrendering custody of her child to somebody else because she does not want to take that child back to the poverty of Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador,” Phipps said when we spoke after the rally. “She has no option. She does not want her child to live in the same poverty she grew up in. It is heartbreaking.”

We have abandoned the common good. We have been stripped of our rights and voice. Corporations write our laws and determine how we structure our society. We have all become victims. There are no politicians or institutions, no political parties or courts, that are independent enough or strong enough to resist the corporate onslaught. Greater and greater numbers of human beings will be consumed. The poor, the vulnerable, the undocumented, the weak, the elderly, the sick, the children will go first. And those of us watching helplessly outside the gates will go next." 

toystoreyspot
toystoreyspot

@Francisco Cortez and you mexicans think you can do anything you want, whenever you want, to whoever you want and think there will be no consequences to those ILLEGAL actions. What about the person's identity? They will have to spend thousands of dollars clearing their name because of those people stealing jobs from legal cictizens. Cisco, you have illegal family members living at your house I know, thats why you say the things you do....you don't deserve to live here, you're just as bad...maybe worse, because you are harboring illegals and you dam well know it...

MotherJones
MotherJones

@JoeArpaioFan Jaffy's on another smoke break from BK. He pulled the night shift. You know how bad the shitter gets after a long day of use? Have fun cleaning JAF. Wax on. Wax off.

john04301
john04301

@JoeArpaioFan What you state is so true the activists would have you believe the only criminal's in Arpios's jail are those illegal immigrants with young children. 

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

@DNichols Cry us a river! In case you did not know it, only persons authorized to work in this country can work in this country. E-Verif is a valuable tool to make sure only those authorized to work are allowed to work.  Call it racist if you want but I think you have run out of race cards to play.

john04301
john04301

@DNICHOLS Maybe you can expand on this. Please explain away why Arizona has a budget surplus now,Sales tax and property tax decreases did not create the great reccesion wall street and big banks are to blame however after reading your rant it appears the collaspe of our economy was a direct result of Joe Arpaio enforcing the law and montgomary prosecuting

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967 Oh really?  Well, if Arpaio went after employers you'd cry fowl too and call them racist for not hiring illegal aliens so why should he even bother? 

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

@zinxminx Useless not. I suppose thosugh you call TSA useless because they are preventing you from getting on a plane with a gun or something like that.

sarum
sarum

@john04301 Right.  And the citizens whose labor supports all these programs are maligned as unworthy vermin when their time of need comes. Back in the '70's a political activist told me the truth about equality achieved.  She said that whenever there is a dirty job to be done or an unpopular truth to be told - that is the ONLY time the good old boys will let a woman or a minority have the job.  It's OBVIOUS the GOP threw both elections - they are as dead as the KGB - NOT!  I agree with truthseeker that there is no coincidence but my conclusion is very different.  


Terms like "racism," "prejudice," "nativism," and "xenophobia" just put a politically correct sheen on what is occurring because while these things truly are horrible - we have been taught in such a manner that we enter into an auto-pilot non thinking mode whenever anyone even hints that this is what is occurring - and in this way the real agenda remains hidden.

DNichols
DNichols

@ truthseekeraz: Thank you.

It takes much courage to stand for the defenseless amoung us.

You are on the "High Road."

Children have a God Given right to their Parents.

M.C.A. Bill Montgomery is just another of Arpaio's "Stooge's" jumping when Arpaio says jump.

Steve70
Steve70

I am a liberal, one of many who believe that there are too many wrongs that need to be fixed before we address the immigration problem. And you, you are just another lemmons behind kissing toadie.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@MotherJones @JoeArpaioFan

Lol little Jaffy needs an industrial strength cleaner just for the mens room. He doesn't dare go into the ladies room.

DNichols
DNichols

@john04301

Yes after more than five years of Budget Shortfalls, Arizona's Economy as well as other States is finally beginning to mend, thanks to President Obama overiding Bigotry.

And yes when you Deport or other wise Displace Millions of people litterally overnight as occurred back in 2007/2008 you cause massive Foreclosures no matter who owned the Dwellings!

Once this massive number of vacant Dwellings hit the then Booming Real Estate Market its "Bubble" was Burst, as Home values began to plummet many thousands more Home Owners let their Homes, or second Homes go into Foreclosure to let the Government take the Hit on the upside Down Mortgages.

Kind of a Domino Effect?!

And Hell yes Arpaio is responsible in large part for our Nations Economic Disaster.

Perhaps a Genious as your self can explain why Every Bail Out, Stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, ect. occurred since, and starting at the exact same time as the I.C.E. Deportation/Incarceration Programs in January 2008, and maybe even why the Twenty-five year period prior to January 2008 was "The Most Prosperous Time in TOTAL U.S. History?"

During "The Most Prosperous Period in our History these Un-Documented Immigrants, and their Legal Citizen Children/Families were here and we all worked Hard Together!

This is America's I.C.E.'d Economy.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@JoeArpaioFan @MaskedMagician1967

Employers are the ones providing the I-9 form to the immigrants and it is the employer's responsibility to verify the information is correct. Or are you not familiar with the Immigration Reform and Control Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan on 11/6/1986?

sarum
sarum

@Steve70 Agreed.  Most thinking people cannot align with either party anymore - maybe if they are single issue voter only.  So truthseeker can play the 2 card monti with his labels forever, thereby functioning as troll for 2 party failed joke system.  People aren't that stupid anymore.  Stop being a troll, truthseeker.  Throwing the R & D names around merely stifles thought, discussion and truth.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@JoeArpaioFan @MaskedMagician1967

You speak with forked tongue. It sucks when families are destroyed over arrests. The main problem is that the mentally ill old man arrests Latinos based on a civil offense. If the feds (since identities are governed exclusively by the federal government) were truly interested in goingafter immigrants, the SSA and the IRS would be prosecuting them to the full extent of the law.

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967 What's wrong, truth hurt? How many times have I heard you say you feel sorry for American citizen kids who have lost their parents to an arrest or do you only feel sorry for those little anchor babies?

DNichols
DNichols

@J-John04301:

In 2008 Mesa Arizona was dubbed "The Epicenter of Foreclosures in America."

This was due to a "Mass Excodus" of Hispanic's, as a direct result of the then new E-verify Law, and I.C.E. Deportation/Incarceration Programs.

Many fled before Arpaio could steal their Hard Earned possesions.

Arpaio used the Funds stolen from Hispanics for thi9ngs such as Massive Amusement Park Parties for his Deputies, ect.

Since Mesa Arizona had the Highest rate of Foreclosures in our Nation, President Obama visited Mesa's Dobson High School to assure Arizona of his concern, and massive Mortgage Assistance Programs that were coming to the rescue.

This Is our I.C.E.'d Economy, and No Banking System in the World could have withstood Tens of Thousands of Vacated Dwellings in such a short period of Time!

But hey lets blame it on "Evil Wall Street Bankers" for a Government Policy Change that sank them?!

Ejoy our lack of "Sane"Immigration Reform Ballooning National Deficit.

Perhaps J-John you should Wake up to reality?

P.S. MCA Bill Montgomery is just another Arpaio "Lap Dog."

john04301
john04301

@DNICOLAS Its my understanding obama deported 1.5 million illegal immigrants over the past 3 years of which a lot of them were hardend criminal's. If its your belief that deporting 1.5 million illegal immigrants  over the buying power of 300 million citizens cause the great reccesion,  well then maybe you should put the bottle down and go to a meeting .

 
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