FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX – Workers with the immigrant rights group Puente—joined by the Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray and lawyers with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic and the Law Office of Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado—today asked a federal court to stop the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) from using two contested state felony identity theft laws that target immigrant workers pending the outcome of the group’s constitutional challenge.
The class-action lawsuit, Puente Arizona v. Arpaio, was filed by the groups in June. It challenges Maricopa County’s enforcement of two state laws passed by Arizona legislators 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.
“Our members go to work, knowing that they might not make it home if Arpaio and Montgomery decide to strike with another raid. We can’t wait any longer for the raids to stop. Every day that MCSO and MCAO unfairly target our communities is a day too long. We need immediate relief from the harm that the raids are causing,” said Carlos Garcia of the plaintiff organization Puente.
“Plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of these unjust and unconstitutional laws. MCSO and MCAO cannot violate workers’ rights with impunity, and we expect the Court to soon make that ruling,” said attorney Jessica Karp Bansal with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), which is representing plaintiffs.
“The only reason I don’t have a DACA work permit now is because I was arrested in a raid while working to pay for my application. I was kept in Arpaio’s jail for three months, away from my family, without knowing what would happen to me. I don’t think anyone else should have to go through what I went through because of Arpaio and Montgomery,” said Noemi Romero, a Puente member who provided a statement in support of the group’s request.
“We will continue to fight state and local officials who reject the best of what this country should stand for,” said Dan Pochoda, Legal Director of the ACLU of Arizona and co-counsel for plaintiffs. “This lawsuit is a needed antidote to the clamor for more deportations and the sacrifice of constitutional rights in the process.”
Additional plaintiffs in the case include Glendale resident Sara Cervantes Arreola and Phoenix resident Guadalupe Arredondo. The suit alleges that two 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. A full list of attorneys on the case includes Professors Annie Lai and Sameer Ashar of the UCI Law Immigrant Rights Clinic; Jessica Karp of NDLON; Dan Pochoda of the ACLU Foundation of Arizona; and Ray Ybarra Maldonado of the Law Office of Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado.
Interviews with plaintiffs and attorneys are available upon request.