Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Andrew Thomas Program to Prosecute Illegal Immigrants for Smuggling Themselves

Andrew Thomas and Joe Arpaio have won another round in their fight to bust illegal immigrants for smuggling themselves into the country.

As New Times reported previously, Thomas' interpretation of the state's human smuggling law -- that average Joses and Marias can be prosecuted on smuggling conspiracy charges -- have been upheld at the state court level.

Now a federal judge has ruled the plan is okay and dismissed a lawsuit against it by Somos America, something that could have the effect of putting pressure on the rest of Arizona's law enforcement agencies to lock up and deport even more illegal immigrants.

You can read this morning's news release from Thomas here, and the accompanying ruling here.

While a victory for Thomas, the folks who believe this will lead to a much-expanded sweep of illegal immigrants can keep dreaming. While legally permissible thus far, Thomas' program has also been very expensive, especially when considering the results are unknowable. That fact will probably make it easier for politicians who don't like to Thomas to reject his invitation to dance.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.