Friday, August 1, 2014



Smuggling case appeal dropped
Maricopa County tried showing it had rights on arresting immigrants
Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014 8:32 am
Associated Press |

PHOENIX — County officials have agreed to drop an appeal of a ruling that bars authorities in metropolitan Phoenix from charging immigrants who paid to be sneaked into the country with conspiring to smuggle themselves.

Ten months ago, a judge prohibited Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Bill Montgomery from using the contentious tactic that expanded the reach of Arizona's 2005 smuggling law and led to complaints from immigrant rights advocates that the statute was intended for smugglers, not their customers.

Montgomery said Thursday that there was no likelihood that the county would have won an appeal, given that the courts have ruled that immigration enforcement is the province of the federal government.
"It was a painful but objective legal decision to decide," Montgomery said.

The Board of Supervisors agreed Wednesday to a settlement that calls for the county to drop its appeal in exchange for paying $675,000 in attorney fees for the lawyers who challenged the legal tactic.
The settlement, first reported by The Arizona Republic, also calls for the lawyers who filed the challenge to drop their appeal that sought to invalidate more than 1,000 convictions brought against smuggling customers. "I think they finally realized it was a fool's errand," Carlos Holguin, one of the attorneys who challenged the tactic, said of county officials.

The smuggling law was passed in 2005 as lawmakers responded to voter frustration over Arizona's role as the nation's then-busiest immigrant smuggling hub.

It marked Arizona's second major immigration law and was followed in 2010 with a wide-ranging law that required police to make immigration checks in certain cases, inspiring similar laws in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah.


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