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Maricopa County Ends 'Self-Smuggling' Prosecutions, Settles Lawsuit

August 07, 2014 (1 min read)

"Maricopa County will pay $675,000 to settle a lawsuit over a controversial policy of prosecuting [unauthorized] immigrants for conspiracy to smuggle themselves into the country.  The practice was instituted by Andrew Thomas when he was county attorney and was found to be unconstitutional last year.  But current County Attorney Bill Montgomery determined that there was little likelihood the county would prevail in appeals court.  The Board of Supervisors took his advice and settled the case Wednesday, stopping the practice and putting an end to the legal battles.  'This brings to an end Maricopa County's deportation machine,' said Peter Schey of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of the advocacy group, Somos America/We Are America.  'This Maricopa County policy coerced thousands of immigrants into pleading guilty to criminal offenses that precluded them from legalizing their status as residents of the United States in the future,' Schey said." - Arizona Republic, July 30, 2014.