Lawsuit challenges Joe Arpaio’s immigration raids, state employer sanctions …

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Joe Arpaio

Mike Sunnucks
Senior Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal


Immigration activists and two undocumented workers have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of Arizona’s employer sanctions and identity theft laws, including workplace raids conducted by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The lawsuit is being filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Plaintiffs include the Puente Arizona activist group and two undocumented women who were arrested during MCSO raids last year. Like other immigration legal battles, they argue enforcement is a federal matter. The plaintiffs want a federal judge to stop Arpaio from conducting more raids and invalidate his use of state identity theft and employer sanctions laws to arrest undocumented immigrants. The MCSO has conducted more than 80 workplace raids since 2008, arresting more than 780 workers.

Most of them — including the two of the plaintiffs, Guadalupe Arredondo and Sara Cervantes Arreola — have been arrested under identity theft or forgery charges because they are working under fake names with fake identification.

Arreola and Arredondo both pleaded guilty to felony identity theft charges, according to court documents. Plaintiff attorneys also argue Arizona has changed identity theft and other laws to specifically go after immigrants and that violates constitutional equal protection clauses even though those migrants are in the U.S. illegally.

The lawsuit also notes that the MCSO and Maricopa County prosecutors have not used employer sanctions laws approved by former governor Janet Napolitano in 2008 to go after business owners and hiring managers. The lawsuit contends three business owners and managers caught up in MCSO raids have agreed to civil penalties, and there is just one outstanding case with criminal allegations.

Mike Sunnucks writes about politics, law, airlines, sports business and the economy.

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