The pressure is building on Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to end his apartheid policies when it comes to the over-charging of undocumented workers, resulting in moms and dads being held nonbondable under Prop 100 and ultimately deported.
In it, Testini accuses Montgomery of "[enforcing] federal immigration laws under the guise of state statute," and of "unequal treatment" toward Latino workers who are "arrested, detained, and prosecuted in Maricopa County."
Testini points out that cases brought to Montgomery's office by the MCSO are tainted because the U.S. Department of Justice "has indicated that forgery and identity theft statutes are specifically used [by the MCSO] to target undocumented Latino workers."
He decries the MCAO's discriminatory charging practices wherein underage wannabe drinkers using false ID to obtain booze are tapped with misdemeanors (if that), while undocumented workers are hit with multiple felony counts for forgery and/or ID theft.
Testini's letter counters each of Montgomery's excuses for maintaining the shameful policies of his disgraced, disbarred predecessor Andrew Thomas, observing Montgomery's unwillingness to pursue employers in the same manner he does employees, and noting his duty under the U.S. Supreme Court's Padilla v. Kentucky decision to negotiate reasonable pleas with noncitizen defendants that do not use the possibility of deportation as a further penalty.
"The County Attorney must understand," Testini writes, "that prosecuting non-citizens in a manner that secures their deportation, in addition to a criminal penalty, constitutes unconstitutional prosecutorial misconduct and far exceeds its authority as a State law enforcement agency. The effects of this policy resonate throughout our community and ruin the lives of United States citizens whose family members are subject to the County Attorney‟s unlawful objectives.This is by no means an exaggeration."
In short, the letter is brilliant, and it forces Montgomery to confront the very issues that he seems to wish would just go away.
I know that some of the attorneys who have been pressing Montgomery to change his policies met with him yesterday for a two hour discussion spearheaded by the League of Latin America Citizens, and attended by various prominent Hispanic citizens.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
By all accounts, the meeting did not go well, with Montgomery remaining intransigent and unwilling to budge an inch, claiming that he was being painted into a corner, where he could no longer express his support for comprehensive immigration reform.
I'm also told, by one participant, that he blew his top at the meeting's end, exclaiming, red faced, that he did not like being called a racist.
Actually, Montgomery's painted himself into this corner with his own arrogance and hypocrisy. I'm not sure if anyone has called him a "racist," though his policies in this regard certainly are discriminatory and bigoted.
Here's a question for Monty to ponder, assuming he is capable of self-examination: That is, does it matter if he himself is a racist, if the policy he so stubbornly clings to and continues to implement has a bigoted intent and effect?