Judge: Maricopa County Can't Prosecute Migrants For Smuggling Themselves

Judge: Maricopa County Can't Prosecute Migrants For Smuggling Themselves

"A federal district judge has ruled that one of Maricopa County's most controversial enforcement policies impacting undocumented immigrants must end.  On Friday, Judge Robert Broomfield ruled the county of Sheriff Joe Arpaio must immediately stop its policy of prosecuting unauthorized migrants under the state's human smuggling statute with felonies for conspiring to smuggle themselves. ... In his Friday ruling, Broomfield found that Maricopa County's policy conflicted with federal law because immigration is the federal government's domain, and Congress has decided to treat unauthorized presence in the country as a civil matter, not a criminal one.  His order means Maricopa County sheriff's deputies must stop arresting and detaining suspected unauthorized immigrants if they are not smuggling anyone else, and the county attorney's office must halt these prosecutions. ... The order is the latest restriction from the courts placed on Arpaio's agency. A different federal district judge, Murray Snow, found in May that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office discriminated against Latino motorists, and Snow is expected to issue a sweeping order in the coming weeks that will require the agency to adopt new policies and procedures to prevent racial profiling.  Snow also specifically ordered the MCSO to stop investigating immigrants for violating the human smuggling statute solely because they are believed to be in the country illegally, and that ruling has already been upheld by the Ninth Circuit." - Jude Joffe-Block, Sept. 30, 2013.