Joe Arpaio Calls This Morning's Illegal-Immigrant Roundup "Employer Sanctions Operation." No "Employers" Actually Arrested

our previous post about Joe Arpaio's immigrant roundup at a downtown Phoenix restaurant this morning, America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" issued a press release, in which he boasts that his agency "is the only law enforcement agency in the state that is currently enforcing employer sanctions laws."

"Employer" being the operative word.

However, in this morning's raid, no "employers" were arrested, only employees -- at least three of whom happen to be illegal immigrants.

The Sheriff's Office tells New Times another person arrested this morning was a manager of the restaurant, but the owner of the Old Spaghetti Factory, Chris Dussin, remains unscathed.

"Today's search warrant marks the first employers sanctions case by the Maricopa County Sheriff since the Supreme Court ruling on May 26, 2011 upholding the right by local law enforcement agencies to enforce state laws against employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens," the press release notes.

We asked sheriff's spokesman Jeffrey Sprong whether the business as a whole -- or Dussin personally -- will be fined or sanctioned under the law to which Arpaio is citing as the purpose of the raid. He says he isn't sure but will get back to us if he finds out.

If history tells us anything, however, the "employer" in this case will get off scot-free.

Every time Arpaio conducts one of these raids -- usually coinciding with negative press, like the recent headlines about how he cost county taxpayers nearly $750,000 in lawsuits in less than 24 hours -- the employees get hauled off while the employer claims to have no idea he hired illegal immigrants.

We can only think of two cases in which employers faced any penalties for hiring illegal immigrants. The first is a Subway restaurant that was forced to close its doors for two days for violating the employers sanctions law.

The other is Waterworld, which avoided a 10-day suspension for violating the law by going out of business. Its parent company, Golfland Entertainment Centers, didn't lose any privileges.

In other words, don't disguise this as an "employer sanctions" operation, call it what is, Joe: an illegal-immigrant round up. Yee-ha! 

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