Sheriff Joe to check citizenship status during traffic stops

  What can be done to educate these people to tell them they can take the 5th and refuse to tell the cops their citizenship status????

hmmm..... doesnt this sound like when the chandler cops busted everybody with brown skin and made them prove they were citizens 6 or 7 or 8 years ago. i know the chandler cops got sued on that and lost


Sheriff checking migrant status in traffic stops
Lindsey Collom
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 30, 2007 12:00 AM

Deputies and detention officers will verify the immigration status of every person booked into a Maricopa County jail, place holds on undocumented people for possible deportation and check status during traffic stops.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio introduced the plan Thursday as one of several measures the department will use to enforce immigration laws.

While other local law enforcement agencies are partnering with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to weed out immigration-related crime, the Sheriff's Office is using its agreement with the federal agency to go after the illegal immigrant.

The sheriff said Thursday that deputies had arrested 20 people on suspicion of being in the country illegally; 13 were arrested after someone reported suspicious vehicles in the desert near Carefree Highway and Interstate 17. The other group was arrested in a bank parking lot near 51st Avenue and Broadway Road. Arpaio called it "good police work" on the part of deputies that contacted the occupants of two vehicles that were parked outside the bank before operating hours.

Arpaio said deputies will not be going "to Home Depot and arrest everybody," but immigration proponents worry that deputies will be motivated to contact people based on ethnicity rather than probable cause.

"What he's doing could lead to racial profiling and ultimately lead to discriminatory actions against his officers," said Danny Ortega, a Phoenix attorney and Latino activist.

The arrests were a first for the department that, until recently, had arrested people on suspicion of conspiring to smuggle themselves if found in the company of a human trafficker. Arpaio's deputies have made nearly 500 of those arrests since March 2006.

So far, the Sheriff's Office has been the only law enforcement agency in the state to seek out and arrest undocumented immigrants for conspiracy to smuggle themselves into the United States.

The genesis was an anti-human smuggling statute passed in August 2005 that gave prosecutors a tool to go after coyotes, or smugglers, who traffic in undocumented immigrants. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office later issued an opinion saying undocumented immigrants suspected of paying coyotes could be prosecuted as conspirators.

But now, deputies no longer need to catch someone in the commission of smuggling themselves in order to enforce immigration laws.

"They will now have the authority to put their federal hat on," Arpaio said. "In the course of their duties, when they stop vehicles under probable cause, they are going to take the necessary action."

Alonzo Pena, special agent in charge of ICE for Arizona, said Thursday's arrests north of the Valley was a "successful" example of the partnership in action.

Deputies went to the desert area near I-17 and Carefree Highway in response to a 911 call and encountered a group of suspects. Unable to arrest the group on a state smuggling case, the ICE-trained deputies took them into custody in accordance with federal law. ICE officials later determined that a member of the suspected smuggling party called 911 out of fear when another group tried to hijack their vehicle, Pena said.

"We're just glad no one was hurt and that the sheriff's department was able to respond and address this issue," he said.

Pena said he believed sheriff's deputies would focus on large groups of immigrants, rather than picking up individuals. But Arpaio hinted that deputies will take anybody believed to be an illegal immigrant into custody.

A total of 37 deputies and detention officers this week completed an ICE training course that gives them the power of federal officers.

In Phoenix, ICE will train officers to be part of a task force that investigates violent crimes. Several federal agents have been embedded with Phoenix police's homicide unit in recent months to help investigate immigration-related deaths.

Sgt. Andy Hill told The Republic in a recent interview that undocumented people living in the community "don't have to fear a Phoenix police car driving by and that an officer is going to stop and ascertain their immigration status."

But Ortega said Arpaio's approach could incite fear and hurt community policing.

"People, particularly the undocumented, are going to fear the Sheriff's Office and fear all police believing that if they come near them, they're going to be arrested," he said. "They're not going to report crimes they were witnesses to or they were victims of. That hurts us all. That makes us all unsafe."