Keep New Times Free
| Arpaio |

Joe Arpaio Can't Arrest People for Smuggling Themselves Into Country, Judge Rules

The scheme by county officials to round up immigrants for conspiring to smuggle themselves into the country has been busted up by a federal judge.

As a result of yet another immigration-related lawsuit filed against the county, a federal judge ruled that Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and their successors, cannot arrest and prosecute people for self-smuggling -- a plot that was the brainchild of disbarred and disgraced former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

See also:
-Bill Montgomery Prosecuting Fewer Immigrants for Smuggling Themselves

U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield's order makes things pretty clear:

Defendants Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney William G. Montgomery, and their agents, employees, successors in office, and all other persons who are in active concert or participation with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, are permanently enjoined from further implementing the Maricopa Migrant Conspiracy Policy including detaining, arresting, and prosecuting persons for conspiring to transport themselves, and no one else, in violation of Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2319;

Although state courts upheld the policy, Judge Broomfield ruled that it conflicts with federal law.

"The Policy effectively criminalizes conduct which federal law does not," his order states. "More specifically, by deeming it a felony for unlawfully present aliens to conspire to transport themselves, the Policy is 'criminalizing unlawful presence, a stance plainly at odds with federal law.'"

That was one of the main ways Arpaio was able to snatch up so many undocumented immigrants, and although it wasn't used as much by Montgomery, it was still used.

Our colleague Ray Stern found that there were 294 people prosecuted for self-smuggling in 2008, 493 in 2009, 369 in 2010, 330 in 2011, and 155 through most of 2012.

Of course, Arpaio and Montgomery still hook up for workplace raids, in which immigrant workers are many times locked up without bond on charges of fraud and identity theft.

Read the order on the next page.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Summaryjudgment 092713

Send feedback and tips to the author.
Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.