Joe Arpaio Faces|Another Class Action

     PHOENIX (CN) – Two Arizona laws unconstitutionally allow Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies to raid businesses to arrest immigrant workers using fake IDs to work, a class action claims in Federal Court.
     Three named plaintiffs and Puente Arizona, a human rights group, sued Arpaio, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County, and Robert Halliday, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
     “This action challenges two state laws, Arizona House Bill 2779 (‘H.B. 2779’), passed in 2007, and Arizona House Bill 2745 (‘H.B. 2745’), passed in 2008, which sought, in relevant part, to criminally punish individuals who do not have federal authorization to work in the United States for the act of securing employment. Both measures were promulgated as part of a broader platform favored by Arizona nativists to make life so difficult for immigrants coming from Mexico and Latin America that they would ‘self-deport,'” the 35-page lawsuit begins.
     “The effect of these measures has been to turn individuals such as plaintiff Sara Cervantes Arreola – who worked for years at a grocery store on Phoenix’s west side to support her young son – into convicted felons. Ms. Cervantes Arreola was arrested at work in January 2013 for using identifying information of a fictitious person, something she needed to do in order to get the job.
     “Arizona entered uncharted territory as a state when it revised its identity theft laws to achieve this aim. Specifically, H.B. 2779, also called the ‘Legal Arizona Workers Act,’ created a new offense of aggravated identity theft to use the information of ‘another person, including a real or fictitious person, with the intent to obtain
     employment.’ A.R.S. § 13-2009(A)(3). H.B. 2745 supplemented the Legal Arizona
     Workers Act by defining the offense of identity theft to include use of another’s information, real or fictitious, ‘with the intent to obtain or continue employment.’ § 13- 2008(A).”
     Arpaio has used those laws for six years “to carry out a campaign of workplace raids targeting undocumented immigrants,” the complaint states. The raids have “separated breadwinners from their families, suppressed workers’ rights, eroded the social fabric of the community, and ultimately harmed many U.S. citizens as well as immigrants.”
     The plaintiffs claim Arpaio’s raid improperly divert taxpayers’ funds from essential public safety and services to prosecute workers. They add: “Arizona’s effort to single out employment by undocumented workers intrudes upon an area of exclusive federal control. The worker identity provisions interfere and conflict with federal laws established by Congress and implemented by the executive branch regulating immigration and employment, and thus violate the Supremacy Clause. They also discriminate on the basis of alienage in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
     Cervantes Arreola was arrested and convicted of felony aggravated identity theft for using fake identification to get a job at a grocery store.
     “Cervantes feels as if her felony conviction has marked her life forever. She believes that people in her community now look at her differently,” the complaint states. “She worries that the conviction will negatively impact her in the event she is ever stopped or detained by police in the future, and may impact her chances for future immigration relief.”
     Cervantes is joined by Guadalupe Arredondo – who was convicted of felony identity theft after she was arrested while working at a paper factory – and Susan Frederick-Gray, as individual plaintiffs.
     Frederick-Gray is the lead minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, and “is challenging the enforcement of these statutes as an illegal expenditure of county taxpayer funds.”
     “Maricopa County is the only jurisdiction systematically enforcing these tools given to it by the state Legislature,” said Dan Pochoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona and co-counsel for plaintiffs, in a statement. “We know from past experience that when the MCSO gets into the business of immigration enforcement, it’s a recipe for discrimination and abuse.”
     A federal judge found in 2013 that the Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office violated the civil rights of Latinos by racially profiling them and subjecting them to traffic stops and arrests without probable cause.
     The class seeks a declaration stating that its civil rights were violated, and an injunction to stop the agencies from enforcing the state laws. It is represented by Anne Lai of the University of California-Irvine School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic.
     Arpaio has been sued more than 350 times, often on civil rights claims, and in class actions, according Courthouse News database. He is serving his sixth 4-year term as sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.

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