Feathered Bastard

Bill Montgomery's Shame: Mom Risks Deportation Because of MCAO Felony

In this video by Puente, Ivon's goodness should be self-evident to all but those with the meanest of spirits

Let's be honest, Anglos in Arizona would starve if there were no undocumented persons here to prepare our food.

Or harvest it from the fields.

See also: -Steven Seagal a No Show at Joe Arpaio's Nickle-Bag Pei Wei Raid -Joe Arpaio's Deputies Raid Taco Shops in Workplace Immigrant Roundup Number 72

If you eat out, you benefit from undocumented labor. It could be a sushi restaurant, a greasy spoon, a taco joint, a Korean barbecue, you name it.

If food's being prepared commercially for consumption, it's likely there are undocumented workers involved, as preppers, cooks, bus boys, servers, hostesses.

Which is why restaurants are such popular targets for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's clowns in brown. It's easy pickin's for these lazy lawmen, who could care less about the owners, as long as they can grab all the low-hanging fruit they can get.

Last week it was America's Taco Shop, where 11 were nabbed for working for a living.

Two years ago, it was Pei Wei, a dog and pony show of an operation, a waste of money and resources, all so Arpaio could strut in front of the Pei Wei at Glendale Ave. and 7th Street, and act like he'd just, somehow, made us all safer.

Rather, he wasted time and resources on people whose big crime was filling out their application with another person's name.

Ivon Diaz filled out that application five years before the raid. She also filled out a W-4 with false info. However, as her court paperwork plainly states, "There is no victim involved in this case."

Actually, I would argue that Diaz, 24, was the victim. Other than using a false identity to work and be a model employee, she has never done anything wrong.

She's been in the country since she was 15, and has graduated from high school. She normally would be eligible for President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, if the MCSO had not raided Pei Wei on March 4, 2011, and if County Attorney Bill Montgomery had not sought felony charges against her.

"I know I broke the law because I had to work," she told me today. "But I am not doing bad stuff, like drugs and alcohol. They have to understand, people came here to work and for a better life."

She met her future husband at church. Their wedding was planned for March 5, 2011, the day after the Pei Wei raid, which disrupted the lives of more than two dozen people and their families.

She spent 96 days in Estrella Jail, along with many actual criminals, until she accepted a plea agreement to a class 6 felony. She said she then did another 20 days at a federal detention center in Eloy.

For someone else, the felony plea she pulled might have allowed for a cancellation of removal. But in her case, since she had not been in the country for ten years or more, she had few options.

She was granted a voluntary departure from the country. If she's not out by Thursday, her voluntary departure turns into an order of removal. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could come calling at any time.

She's going to take the risk and stay. All of her immediate family is here. She married Luis after she got out, and now they have a 7 month-old American citizen child.

The baby's name is Zurisadai, which is from the Old Testament. I'm told it means, "The Almighty is my rock."

If she were to leave, Ivon explains, Luis would remain behind.

"He would have to stay and work," she said. "Because we have nothing."

Today, the human rights group Puente rallied at Phoenix's ICE headquarters to request that Ivon be allowed to stay. Puente produced the video above of Ivon telling her story.

The group also has a petition you can sign, asking ICE to let her to remain in the country.

Ivon had heard about the controversy over Montgomery's charging practices, of how the MCAO hits undocumented workers with felonies, while giving college kids a slap on the wrist when they commit the same crime.

"I see, on TV, that some people, they use a false ID to buy alcohol," she said. "And they just give them a misdemeanor. I can't understand why. They were doing bad stuff. I was just working."

I can't understand why either. Nor do I understand why ICE continues to take tainted cases from Maricopa County, where Arpaio is being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for racial profiling.

One arm of the government remains indifferent to what the other arm is up to. Or so it seems.

Meanwhile, Arpaio raids establishments we all patronize, places where food is prepared or brought to us by people such as Ivon.

ICE had no comment as of Monday, but my understanding is that the case is under review.

We are a better society, a better country, a better state and county, with Ivon and Luis and Zurisadai here with us.

Give the undocumented a way to get right with the law, and they will. Allow them to work legally, and they will. Let them apply for driver's licenses and require them to get auto insurance, and they will.

In the interim, stop the deportations of folks like Ivon. End Arpaio's raids, and shut down Montgomery's discriminatory charging practices.

This madness has to end. We must make it end. It's the least we can do for the people who feed us.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons