Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith Endorses Andrew Thomas for AG, but Hasn't Followed Thomas' Lead on Charging Immigrants

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is touting the fact that Matt Smith, the Mohave County Attorney, has endorsed his run for state Attorney General.

Yet Smith, in his position since 2003, hasn't shown any support for one of Thomas' most successful programs -- charging illegal immigrants with conspiring to smuggle themselves into the country.

Thomas' controversial interpretation of the state's human-smuggling law has been upheld by the court system, yet -- as far as we're aware -- no other county attorney has followed his lead.

What does Smith think of Thomas' "self-smuggling" program, and why has Smith never charged an immigrant with that crime?

We can't tell you, because Smith won't return our calls. His secretary told us today that he did get the messages we left on Thursday and this morning.

Must be a tough question for him.





Of course, it's possible that no law enforcement agency outside Maricopa County has arrested an immigrant on suspicion of the conspiracy-to-smuggle-yourself charge, or ever submitted a case for potential prosecution.

We called Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan's office this morning to see if somebody there could tell us something. Sheahan's spokeswoman, Trish Carter, didn't get back to us today, either.

Can Smith point to past statements he's made in which he's encouraged law officers in his county to go ahead and make the arrests, so that he could put Thomas' plan into action? Somehow, we doubt it.

And what of Thomas -- why is he so happy to get an endorsement from someone who had the chance to, as Sheriff Joe Arpaio puts it, "enforce all aspects of illegal immigration laws" -- but didn't?

Thomas' campaign has no comment on the matter to New Times.

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