In June 2014, the ACLU of Arizona with co-counsel University of California- Irvine Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the Law Office of Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado filed a challenge to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) enforcement of state laws passed by Arizona legislature in 2007 and 2008 that turn immigrants into felons for working to provide for their families. Since then, MCSO has arrested over 790 workers under the laws. The suit alleges that Arizona statutes, A.R.S. § 13-2008 and § 13-2009, are preempted by federal law and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In June 2015, plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint to include an as-applied challenge to the MCSO and MCAO’s enforcement of the state forgery statute to target undocumented workers in the employment context.
On August 7, 2014, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, which was granted on January 5, 2015. In his order, Judge David Campbell put a stop to the workplace raids noting that they cause irreparable harm and that plaintiffs are likely to succeed with their legal challenge. The defendants appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and on May 5, 2016 the appellate panel reversed the grant of the preliminary injunction on preemption grounds. Plaintiffs have filed a petition for en banc re-consideration by the Ninth Circuit.