Arpaio case: Latinos allowed to join class-action suit
A federal judge issued a ruling Friday that will curtail the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s ability to target illegal immigrants and gives thousands of Hispanics standing in a civil lawsuit that seeks to fundamentally alter Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration-enforcement efforts.
Judge Murray Snow’s ruling created a class action, giving every Latino stopped, questioned or detained by the Sheriff’s Office since January 2007 standing in the 4-year-old civil-rights lawsuit.
The suit does not request monetary awards but seeks to change the way Arpaio’s deputies enforce immigration laws.
The judge’s ruling also bars all sheriff’s officers from arresting any person “only on knowledge or reasonable belief, without more, that the person is unlawfully present within the United States.”
Such knowledge or belief, Snow ruled, does not amount to cause for arrest.
The class standing offers court-ordered protection to that broad category of Latino residents, said Cecilia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
“It means that you have the protection of a federal court order that has stopped MCSO from arresting or detaining you by trying to figure out if you’re lawfully in the United States,” Wang said. “Our main mission with this litigation has been to stop MCSO from engaging in these illegal practices.”
Arpaio’s attorney said that he plans to appeal the injunction and that deputies will comply with the ruling while continuing to enforce immigration-related laws.
Read the full story at The Tucson Citizen