Legal Reference

Reasons cops gave for stopping Mexicans

In this article from the Arizona Republic they listed the reasons that Sheriff Joe's goons claimed to have "probable cause" to stop brown skinned people and use that as a reason to see if they were in the country illegally.

The Federal program Sheriff Joe uses as an excuse to round up Mexicans says that they have to hunt down dangerous criminals. But 95 percent of the reasons Sheriff Joe uses seem to be chicken sh*t reasons. Things like

cracked windshield, window tint, unreadable temp tag, improper lane change, white light to rear, welfare check, unreadable plate, no visible plate, no plate container, consentual stop, Window tint, obstructing traffic, failure to maintain lane of traffic, Broken Tail light, and cracked brake light
Breakdown of arrests

Of those stops that led to an arrest, here's the breakdown:

Top probable causes:

  • Light broken/cracked 50.
  • Speeding 50.
  • Cracked windshield 45.
  • Window tint 20.

The Arizona Republic reviewed records and arrest reports from nine “crime-suppression operations” the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office conducted in the last 18 months.

In all, 387 people were arrested in those nine operations — including 62 people who were passengers.

The operations also cleared 76 warrants.

Of those stops that led to arrest, here's the breakdown:

Phoenix, March 22, 2008
Phoenix, March 27, 2008
Guadalupe, April 3, 2008
Mesa, June 26-27, 2008
Cave Creek, July 8, 2008
Mesa, July 14, 2008
Southwest Valley, Jan. 10, 2009
Avondale, April 23-24, 2009
Chandler, July 23-24, 2009

March 22, 2008
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
B. Reyes Jr.Driving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
A. AriasCriminal speedNocriminal speed
L. ChaconDriving on Suspended LicenseNounreadable temp tag
D. G. VasquezForgeryYespassenger of Chacon
J. CorraleswarrantYesillegal parking
J. L. Morales287GYescracked windshield
B. Zigarroa287GYesPassenger of Morales
L. F. HerreraFail to Show IDYesFailure to signal
R. DelfinoCriminal speedYesspeeding
E. F. Jiminezopen containerYespassenger of Delfino
C. Ramozopen containerNopassenger of Hernandez
S. HernandezWarrant, DUINocracked windshield
J. S. ReyesDriving on Suspended LicenseYesNo visible plate
F. AlvaWarrantNocracked windshield
L. L. GarciaDUIYesimproper lane change
J. P. Terronesopen containerYesPassenger of Garcia
J. E. Alvarez Driving on Suspended LicenseYesno brake light
N. P. CasasDriving on Suspended LicenseNospeeding
I. F. Perez287GYescracked windshield
L. R. Contreras287GYesPassenger of Perez
I. H. Sanchez287GYesPassenger of Perez
O. A. RodriguezDriving on Suspended LicenseYeswhite light to rear

March 27, 2008
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
P. RamirezFail to Show IDYesM/I Suspended
F. Marqui287gYescracked windshield
R. EverettDriving on Suspended LicenseNoSpeed
F. L. Ramirez287GYescracked windshield
M. MenaDriving on Suspended LicenseNoNo visible plate
A. ChadazFail to AppearNoNo visible plate
V. C. Maya287GYescracked windshield
M. Bangelos287gYespassenger of Maya
A. M. Pimente287GYeswelfare check
F. Lopez287GYespassenger of Sanchez
A. Sanchez287GYesunreadable plate
J. R. IbararFail to Show IDYesBroken Tail light
S. B. Kirkpatrickwarrant, burglaryNocriminal speed
T. J. HooverDriving on Suspended LicenseNosuspended plate
J. AparicoDriving on Suspended LicenseYescracked windshield
I. MichaelDriving on Suspended LicenseNoSpeed
F. R. GarciaFail to Show IDYesSpeed
N. A. LevyaWarrant, TrafficNocracked windshield
J. T. ParkerDUINoSpeed
A. DuranFail to Show IDYesFailure to obey traffic command
BradyReckless DrivingNoSpeed
J. G. Ramirez287gYescracked windshield
M. RosalesDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
B. RosalesDriving on Suspended LicenseYesWindow tint
S. E. Gonzalez287gYespassenger of Rosales
J. Floreswarrant, trafficNolane change violation
J. Cruz287gYescracked windshield
J. V. Espinozaescape warrantYesobstructing traffic
M. S. Lopezfailure to show idYescracked windshield
C. GibsonDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
T. L. BrooksDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
J. L. MendozaFail to Show IDYespassenger of Francisco Lopez
F. LopezFail to Show IDYesfailure to stop
B. HernandezFail to Show IDNono brake light
M. A. MezaDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
T. Cools JrwarrantNocracked windshield
R. RuelleDriving on Suspended LicenseNoillegal turn
P. CeljaDriving on Suspended LicenseNospeeding
M. J. HartwarrantNocracked windshield
W. WavovaDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
Lois (illegible)287GYesspeeding
M. ValdivawarrantYesno brake light
M. Reyes287gYesPassenger of Valdiva
Alex (illegible)Driving on Suspended LicenseNono plates
M. VasquezFail to Show IDYesno visible plates
A. PatinoFail to Show IDYesPassenger of Vasquez
A. Gamboa 287gYesPassenger of n/a
J. V. HernandezDriving on Suspended LicenseNofailure to maintain lane of traffic
F. HernandezFail to Show IDYesfailure to maintain lane of traffic
M. M. Lopez287gYesPassenger of Hernandez
P. LopezDisorderly ConductNocommand post, disobeyed command
T. SheltonDriving on Suspended LicenseNono visible plates
J. H. GarciaFail to YieldNospeeding
A. SheldonDisorderly ConductNocommand post, disobeyed command

April 3, 2008
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
D. Jiminez287gYes647A
R. Rojaspossession of paraphernaliaNono turn signal
E. RubioFail to Show IDYescracked windshield
M. ValenzuelawarrantNopassenger of Valenzuela
S. ValenzuelaDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked brake light
E. Robleswarrant/ theftNofailure to stop, stop sign
G. M. RiveraDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
J. P. MartinezFail to Show IDYesimproper display of license plate
F. D. Hernandez287gYespassenger of Martinez
F. CastorenaDriving on Suspended LicenseNofailure to stop, stop sign
V. Fordwarrant, shopliftingNoexpired tags
T. BarrazaDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
L. SanchezDriving on Suspended LicenseNono turn signal
B. ZamoraDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
F. RodriguezWarrant/ Driving on Suspended LicenseYeswindow tint
D. WilliamsDriving on Suspended LicenseNono turn signal
R. Clemenswarrant/ obstructionNo647A
J. Bandinwarrant/ drug possessionNobroken tail light
V. Luperwarrant/ trafficNocracked windshield
J. FarrisDriving on Suspended LicenseNosuspended plates
D. TurrubiartesDriving on Suspended LicenseNohorn violation
A. L. KaiserDriving on Suspended LicenseNoexpired tags
J. J. Samaniegopossession of marijuanaNono tail lights
V. Torreswarrant x 2 marijuana/ trafficNoWarrant
R. C. AndersonWarrant/ Driving on Suspended LicenseNospeeding
J. CoronezWarrant/ FTP TrafficNolicence plate light out

June 26-27, 2008
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
L. GarbamWarrant, FTANoWarrant
S. SkousenWarrant, FTANoWarrant
G. StrandForgeryNoWarrant
S. SchwendDriving while suspendedNoCracked windshield
B. HopkinsDriving while suspendedNoLane Change Violation
R. L. Segovia287gYesTint
A.H. HernandezFalse IDYesPassenger of Segovia
V.L. SegoviaFalse IDYesPassenger of Segovia
R. L. MartinezFalse IDYesPassenger of Segovia
O.Z. Barron287gYesCracked windshield
D.M. BoswellWarrantNoSpeeding
D.F. EvansWarrant, Driving while suspendedNoTraffic Violation
F. PerreraWarrantYesNo Brake Lights
R.P. SanchezOpen ContainerYesNo Brake Lights
P. MarquivaOpen ContainerNoPassenger of Sanchez
S. BarnettShopliftingNoBeer Run
S.M. WipeDriving while suspendedNoNo Hood
S. BrockDriving while suspendedNoSpeeding
C.C. RodriguezFail to show IDYesSpeeding
L.G. Rodriguez287gYesPassenger of Rodriguez
G.G. Diaz287gYesPassenger of Rodriguez
S.L. PorterDriving while suspendedNoNo Turn Signal
R. RangelTraffic ViolationNoNo tags on plate
A. Vasquez287gYesExpired Tags
M. VargasFail to show IDNoCracked windshield
J. Angel287gYesEquipment violation
O.E. DelgadoWarrant, TrafficYesPassenger of Angel
A. MedinaDisorderly ConductNoTraffic Violation
R.L. BuckmasterAggravated DUINoSpeeding
J. GuerraWarrant, Driving while suspendedNoLittering
J.E. ArbuthestDriving while suspendedNoUnreadable License plate
P. IbarraTraffic ViolationNoNo License plate light
M. CurryNarcotic PossessionNoPassenger of Ibarra
A.R. MondrogenDUIYesNo lights when required
J. BerdeciaWarrant, FTANoWarrant
S.M. VillananFail to show IDNoNo Turn Signal
J.P. BerrelleraDriving while suspendedNoNo Turn Signal
T. LedmaWarrantNoExpired Tags
I. LeeDriving while suspendedNoExpired Tags
J.C. EspinozaFail to show IDYesCracked windshield
M. QuinteroDriving while suspendedNoCracked windshield
J. RodriguezFail to show IDYesExpired Tags
S. Taylor Jr.WarrantNoWarrant
A. LittleDriving while suspendedNoBrake light out
T. NortonWarrant, Child SupportNoNo Turn Signal
M. Espimeln/aNoPassenger of Norton
D. SchmidtWarrant, Driving while suspendedNoNo Turn Signal
A. LopezWarrant, FTANoPassenger of Lopez
D. DillionOpen ContainerNoFail to drive in one lane
L. TipsDriving while suspendedNoNo License plate light
T. BarksdaleDriving while suspendedNoExpired Tags
J. BarronFail to show IDYesNo headlights
D. SchantzDriver's License ViolationNoNo License plate light
J. SotegoDriving while suspendedYesn/a
A. LopezDUINoNo headlights
M. EduvijesOpen ContainerNoPassenger of Lopez
C. FarnsworthWarrantNoNo License plate light
S. SmartDriving while suspendedNoSpeeding
R. RoblesWarrantYesPassenger of Smart
B. SteggWarrantNoWarrant

Cave Creek
July 8, 2008
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
M.P. SanchezSpeedYesSpeed
S.C. Romero287gYesPassenger of Sanchez
L.M. Lopez287gYesPassenger of Sanchez
B.I. Ivarez287gYesPassenger of Gastillum
J.L. GastillumFail to Show IDYesExpired Registration
A.G. Aguire287gYesRan Red Light
O.R. Chavez287gYesPassenger of Aguire
C.M. FigueroaFalse InfoYesPassenger of Aguire
M.C. Muy287gYesSpeed
C.S. DeLeon287gYesPassenger of Muy
A.A. Mendez287gYesPassenger of Muy
A. Martinez287gYesPassenger of Muy
E. SorandaWarrant, AssaultNoExpired Registration
D. MartinezFail to Show IDYesSpeed
M. Hernandez287gYesCracked Windshield
F. Hernandez287gYesPassenger of Hernandez
E. Hernandez287gYesPassenger of Hernandez
R.B. DeJesusSpeedYesSpeed
T. Rodriguez287gYesPassenger of DeJesus

July 14, 2008
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
J. ThompsonWarrantNo Expired Registration
J. Ricks IIISpeedNospeed
R.V. ZepedaFail to show IDYesCracked Windshield
Y.V. Mendivo287gYes Passenger of Zepeda
A. Dominguez287gYesCracked Windshield
K. H.Warrant, Child SupportNoWarrant
R.S. RodriguezDriving while suspendedYesTint
J. Ocampo287gYesspeed
J. L. Garnica287gYesPassenger of Ocampo
A. GonzalezFail to show IDYes No brakelight
G. Lopez287gY Cracked Windshield
M. Lopez287gYesPassenger of Lopez
J.G. Roman287gYesPassenger of Lopez
M. VogelLitteringNoexpired registration
M. Francisco287gYesTint
V. Minerva287gYesPassenger of Francisco
R.A. Montez287gYesFailure to maintain lane
M.M. Rivera287gYesPassenger of Montez
M. Arceo287gYesPassenger of Montez
M.F. Aguire287gYes Ran Stop Sign
C. Andrade287gYesPassenger of Aguire
N.M. Villa287gYesFailure to stop at stop sign
R. Vasquez287gYesPassenger of Villa
E. GaytonDriving while suspendedNospeed
A. SipesDriving while suspendedNospeed
D. McGuireWarrant, BurglaryNoPassenger of Sipes
L.E. BernalDriving while suspendedYesspeed
A. Ybarra287gYesPassenger of Bernal
L.P. Munoz287gYesPassenger of Bernal
M.G. Romero287gYesn/a
J. MartinezWarrantNoBrakelights out
M. Hernandez287gYesNo license plate/ speeding
F. M. Gomez287gYesPassenger of Martinez
V. ManuelDriving while suspendedNosuspended license
O. Valenzuela287gYesPassenger of Manuel
A. CasperDriving while suspendedNoNo headlights
T.C. FenwickNo Drivers LicenseNoNo brake lights
J.D. DartmanDriving while suspendedNoNo Tailight
A. KistoDriving while suspendedNoheadlight out
T. KempSpeedNospeed

Southwest Valley
Jan. 10, 2009
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
D. W. SlusherDriving on Suspended LicenseNoexpired tags
J. E. MendozaFailure to provide IDYescracked windshield
J. J. RamirezDrivers License RestrictedNoTint
E. PearsonFictitious PlateNoWindow Tint
R. CollinsFail to Appear- Minor Traffic OffenseNoObstructed License Plate
J. M RosaleDriving on Suspended LicenseNoexpired tags
I. MoralesTraffic Violation/ MarijuanaNoFailed to stop at red light
W. BetoTrespassingNo712 in flood control
R. NavarreteTrespassingNo712 in flood control
E. T. GamezTrespassingYes712 in flood control
M. MendozaDriving on Suspended LicenseNoLane change w/o signal
J. B. CastellanosMarijuana, 2 warrantsNoPassenger w. Morales
R. JohnsonDriving on Suspended LicenseNoobscured plate
G. PerfectoDriving on Suspended LicenseYesspeed
H. B. CotaIllegal Alcohol PossessionNono lights to rear
L. S. CastanonDriving off roadYesdriving off road
M. ThompsonDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
E. ReyesForgeryNooff road
J. G. ManuelN/AYesno head lights
G. GuizarDriving on Suspended LicenseNoWindow Tint
C. SmithAlcohol, fail to show id; expired registration; Noexpired temporary tag
Y. Bautistafail to show idYesno license plate light
M. PerreraspeedingNospeeding
AshleyWarrant/ AlcoholNocriminal speed
K. Beiserexcessive speedNocriminal speed
F. ThompsonDriving on Suspended LicenseNospeed
E. MuzabanesMarijuanaNospeed, passenger of Thompson
A. Garciareckless drivingNoreckless speed
A. CorbertDriving on Suspended LicenseNospeed
J. J. BarronFail to Show IDNoobstructed plate
M. MorrisCurfew violation/ probation violationNoSubject w. Gun
C. SoellFailure to appear traffic east mesa; failure to appear Driving on Suspended LicenseNorelative of Subject w. Gun
R. Larkins IIIVilaltion of DLRNoTint
F. MartinezFail to Show IDYesspeeding
C. LunaFail to Show ID, Driving on Suspended LicenseNospeeding
N. SanchezDriving on Suspended LicenseNono plate container
A. MalatestaDriving on Suspended LicenseNospeeding
O. S. Elizalde287gYesbroken windshield
C. L. PanchoWarrant for Driving on Suspended LicenseYesno tail light
M. A. Penpossession of fake DLYesno headlight
V. L. Castillo287gYesrear light out
A. Castillo287gYesrear light out
F. ArellanoDriving on Suspended LicenseNoheadlight out
M. S. CruzWarrant: Driving on Suspended License, DrugsNoplate violation
J. P. BalderramaDriving on Suspended License WarrantNoheadlight out
G. De la RosaillegibleNoFailure to signal
C. Perezstolen vehicleNobait vehicle
J. P.ScheberDriving on Suspended License, possession of drugsNofollowing bait vehicle
R. Duranwarrant, felonyNoconsentual stop
J. W. ReeseOpen ContainerNoconsentual stop
J. O. ArianaWarrantYesDUI, Fail to Appear
C. S. GarciaPossession of dangerous drugs, saleYesn/a
T. BenoitwarrantNoWarrant

April 23-24, 2009
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
T. P. PerkinsWarrantNocracked windshield
S.F. Ocampo287gYesmoving violation
J. L. Jiminez287gYespassenger of Flores-Ocampo
A. Medina287gYesunsafe lane change
C. M. Olivas287gYespassenger of Medina
A. A. LopezDriving on Suspended LicenseNoinvalid registration
A. Chavez287gYesspeeding
B. N. WilliamsWarrantNospeeding
H. N. Estrada287gYesTint
S. M. Elliotwarrant (Fail to Appear check fraud)NoWarrant
M. L. OrdonezFail to Produce IDYeswindow tint
M. Olsenexcessive speedNospeeding
H.T. GamezFail to Produce IDYesno license plate light
S. S. Aranda287gYespassenger of Torrez-Gamez
R. T. Carillofalse info/ 287gYespassenger of Torrez-Gamez
M. OvantesDriving on Suspended LicenseNoheadlight out
C. M. Browncriminal litteringNocriminal littering
A. PalmaDriving on Suspended LicenseYesbroken tail light
J. A. Saminegoexcessive speedNospeeding
R. MoranFail to Produce IDNounreadable license plate
M. A. CastilloFail to Produce IDYesno license plate light
J. R. Medina287g/ forgeryYespassenger of Moran
D. J. OlveraAgg assault on police officer; criminal damage; felony flight; reckless driving; driving stolen vehicle; possessing stolen license plate; Driving on Suspended License; DUINoexcessive speeding
J. V. Lopez287gYespatrol call for service
J. M. Lopez287gYespatrol call for service
J. V. Lopez287gYespatrol call for service
J. A. RenaDriving on Suspended License/ DUIYesspeeding
C. VelezWarrant: Game and FishNosuspended registration
S. M. MechamViolation: Drivers License, False information, restrictionNocracked windshield
T. J. AmentDriving on Suspended License/ DUINoexpired registration
M. A. OroscoDriving on Suspended License/ DUINoNo plate
R. TovarTheft/ Probation ViolationNoTechno-Cop
M. Z. GarciaFail to Produce IDYesFailure to yield to pedestrian
T. McGintyDriving on Suspended LicenseNoexpired registration
I.OrdazDriving on Suspended LicenseNocracked windshield
I. AvilaDUINocracked windshield
L. O. CervantesFail to Produce IDYeswindow tint
C. S. CazaFail to AppearNoWarrant
T. SuiterDriving on Suspended LicenseNoNo visible plate
D. J. OlveraDUINoreckless
J. C. MezaFail to AppearYesran red light

July 23-24, 2009
NameCause for arrestImmigration violationProbable cause for stop
P. Hall2 warrants for drugs, TempeNoWarrant
K. A. ClineDriving on Suspended License (Tempe)NoWarrant
D. SkillminDUI (Tempe)NoWarrant
M. GurreroFailure to Provide IDYesTint
J. C. SantanaFailure to Provide IDYesn/a
J. A. CosioFailure to Provide ID/ Driving on Suspended LicenseNon/a
V. SerranoFailure to Provide IDYesRan Stop Light- Mesa
A. Fernandez3 Drug Warrants- ChandlerNoWarrant
S. M. RangelFailure to Provide IDYesBrakelight- Chandler
J. ArthurViolation of DL RestrictionNoTint-Chandler
M. E. CoronaFailure to Provide IDYesSpeeding
J. FigueroaFailure to Provide IDYesExpired Registration- Chandler
A. J. MarchDriving on Suspended LicenseNoCracked Windshield- Chandler
M. HernandezDriving on Restricted LicenseNoIllegible License Plate
L. AlanizFighting, DomesticNoFighting, Domestic
F. F. TorresFailure to provide IDYesTint
E. C. DuarteDriving on Suspended LicenseNoRegistration Suspended- Mesa
G. Castillo Jr.3 Warrants, including probation violationNoTint
J. AnnisDrug PossessionNoTint
A. CastilloWarrant- Contempt of CourtNoTint
R. SantillanWarrant- TheftNoTint
C. Ethridge1 Fail to Appear- MCSO; 1 Assault- ChandlerNoLittering
P. F. SantanaFailure to Provide IDYesTint
V. C. SpringerDriving on Suspended License- DPSNoTraffic Violation
G.A. SanchezPossession of Drugs for SaleNoLittering (Criminal)
C. EllisDriving on Suspended LicenseNoExpired Registration
D. SwearingDriving on Suspended LicenseNoBroken Taillight
J. M. Wagner4 Warrants, Forgery, TrafficNoExpired Registration
K. ReyesDisorderly ConductNoFight at Park
A. GuereroAssault- Disorderly ConductNoFight at Park
S. M. Villa1 Warrant- ShopliftingNolicense plate light
A. A. LaraTraffic ViolationNoNo tail light
S. BabalisonFailure to Provide IDNoNo light on bicycle
V. E. TorresDriving on Suspended LicenseNoRed light violation
D. MatusDrug/ Alcohol PossessionNoopen container
C. FernaultDrug Possession/ Drug ParaphernaliaNoHeadlight
D. SalazarFailure to Provide IDNoSpeeding
Z. VargasFailure to Provide IDNono child seat
M. BoylesAggravated AssaultNoAssault
L. A. Urquito2 Warrants- ShopliftingNoPassenger of Vargas
J. V. KelliDUINoFailure to Obey Traffic Sign
T. Rezacpossession of marijuana, paraphernaliaNoSpeeding
K. RappeDriving on Suspended LicenseNoNo License Plate Light
G. R. RojasWarrants, Drugs, PinalNoNo License Plate Light
J. GomezPossession of Drug ParaphernaliaNoNo License Plate Light
V. H. EljarFailure to provide IDYesbroken brake light
J. G. Arellano Jr2 Warrants- Failure to pay fine; contemptNoDisplaying Expired Registration
D. E. Robinson2 Fail to AppearsNoAssault on Son (Domestic Violence)
J. GainesDriving on Suspended LicenseNoCracked windshield
M. J. BetancourtDriving on Suspended LicenseNoCracked windshield
C. WoodeDriving on Suspended LicenseNoSuspend License, No Insurance
J. LyleWarrantsNounreadable plate
E. H. HerreraFailure to provide IDYesFailure to Signal
R. A. RinconDriving on Suspended LicenseNoFollow too close
R. M. AcostaFail to Produce IDYesInsurance Suspended
D. GonzalezTheftNoSuspended Registration
N. E. FeldaveroDriving on Suspended LicenseNoLane Violation
F. RamonProbation ViolationNoTurn Violation
M.W. Miguel910SNoLane Violation
S. O. CuevasFail to Produce IDYesSpeed
B. JuanDUI ChargeNounreadable plate
V. B. ArdalejoFail to Produce IDYesunreadable plate
H. CordovaDriving on Suspended LicenseNoRan stop sign
A. SantosDrug PossessionNoNo plate light
N. LemonsFail to Appear, Driving on Suspended LicenseNoSpeeding
C.H. SilvaFail to Produce IDYesEquipment
J. J. RicoDrug PossessionNoFailure to Signal
D. CalvertDUI ChargeNounreadable plate
S. EspomaDriving on Suspended LicenseNoHeadlight out
T. SamfordCriminal LitteringNoLittering
D. LeeDriving on Suspended LicenseNoCracked windshield
N. ParisiDrug PossessionNoLane Violation
A. JimenezFail to Produce IDYesLane Violation

Here is a related article


Feds give sheriff a tough choice on immigration enforcement

If sweeps not altered, jail help will be lost

by JJ Hensley - Aug. 5, 2009 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

It was another sweep, with more arrests and complaints of racial profiling.

Valley residents are getting used to the fanfare and bitter debate that accompany Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "crime suppression operations," like the one in Chandler nearly two weeks ago. It has been 18 months since Arpaio launched the first raid in central Phoenix, but do they work?

Arpaio says "yes": The operations clear warrants, nab illegal immigrants and reinforce the message that illegal immigrants aren't welcome in the county.

Critics say "no": The sweeps don't result in enough arrests, they spark fear in immigrant communities and divert scarce resources.

In the 10 sweeps conducted since March 2008, deputies arrested 552 people, according to the Sheriff's Office. Fewer than half were in the country illegally. The legal residents detained were frequently picked up for offenses such as driving with suspended licenses or warrants.

The sweeps, in which drivers are stopped, can take weeks to plan, require dozens of law-enforcement personnel and can cost up to $40,000 for large-scale operations like last month's in Chandler.

By contrast, another program aimed at identifying illegal immigrants has caught more than 26,000 people as they were booked into jail. That operation, which is sanctioned by the federal government, uses federally trained officers already working in the jails.

It's those undocumented immigrants accused of committing crimes that the federal government now wants local law-enforcement to target. The Department of Homeland Security clarified its policy last month to reiterate that local agencies participating in the 287(g) program should only target "criminal aliens," those who have committed a crime other than illegal border crossing.

Arpaio has less than 90 days to weigh the two strategies as he considers his continued participation in the federal program.

If he accepts the new policy, he can still conduct sweeps, but his deputies will have to release illegal immigrants who have not committed crimes. If that policy had been in effect during the past 18 months, the Sheriff's Office would have had to release 150 of the sweeps detainees. If Arpaio doesn't agree to the terms, he won't be able to continue the identification program in the jails.

For Arpaio, the dilemma is real.

"The agreement is a package deal," covering street-level deputies and detention officers, Arpaio said. "I have to make a big decision. . . . I don't think they're going to change the policy just for me. If they were smart, because they do like the jail policy, they would say, 'Well, in Phoenix, Arizona, let the sheriff still turn these people over.' "

Every inmate who is booked into county jail receives some sort of immigration screening. When information provided by arresting officers or the inmates themselves indicate that the suspect is foreign-born, they're subject to more scrutiny. Sixty detention officers have received federal training to use an Immigration and Customs Enforcement computer system that quickly verifies immigration status.

Detention officers have screened more than 218,000 inmates since Arpaio signed the federal agreement in February 2008.

Once identified as illegal immigrants, those inmates are held without bond and handed over to immigration officials for deportation proceedings.

The "agency's priority (is) to identify and remove criminals and other aliens who pose a risk to public safety," said Matt Chandler, a Homeland Security spokesman.

The goals and effects of the "crime suppression operations" are drastically different.

Arpaio has long claimed the success of the sweeps can't be measured in the number of people arrested and warrants cleared. He wants to encourage "voluntary compliance" with immigration laws - to intimidate illegal immigrants into leaving.

"There's a matter of deterrence on the street level: instilling the probability that somebody might get arrested out there," said Deputy Chief Brian Sands, who oversees the Human Smuggling Unit. "We don't catch all violators of the law, but if we're not out there actively pursuing them, the violators soon realize that."

The scope of the crime sweeps have varied since the first near 32nd Street and Thomas Road in March 2008.

A three-day sweep in Mesa last summer cost $38,387 and paid for 83 deputies and supervisors to arrest 59 people. A two-day operation in Fountain Hills in May 2008 used 13 deputies, cost $3,947 and resulted in 20 arrests.

The Sheriff's Office pays for the operations through its general fund, state funding and grants. Arpaio says these deputies would be working anyway; it's just a matter of when and where.

Deputies have worked nearly 200 hours in the 10 sweeps, issuing more than 1,100 citations and making more than 550 arrests. Critics, however, say those sheriff's employees and volunteers are put to better use going after "real criminals" in a time when the agency has taken a $10 million cut in its operating budget.

Sheriff's officials say the focus on the operations' costs and resulting arrests misses the point.

"The crime suppressions (aren't) just for these illegals, it supplements our state laws," Arpaio said. "It's an overall fight against immigration. It all intertwines."

Supervisors typically choose sweep sites based on criteria such as a rash of drophouse busts, identity-theft investigations or traffic complaints. The initial sweep in Phoenix came after a group of business owners complained about day laborers.

The operations can take weeks or days to organize, depending on their size, and deputies are given instructions to stop motorists for any violation.

The deputies look for key indicators such as foreign-born residents who don't have identification or don't speak English before calling in an immigration specialist. But they are given instruction that emphasizes the need to avoid racial profiling.

"Note: At no time will MCSO sworn personnel stop a vehicle based on the race of the subjects in the vehicle," reads an operations plan.

Those warnings have not stopped accusations of racial profiling.

The sweeps have resulted in dozens of anecdotal claims that sheriff's deputies are profiling drivers, as well as a Department of Justice investigation and one class-action lawsuit with plaintiffs caught up in the operations.

An Arizona Republic analysis of arrest records from nine operations indicates that about 68 percent of those arrested appear to have Hispanic surnames.

Law-enforcement leaders point to another consequence from this type of publicized immigration enforcement: diminished trust in police within the immigrant community.

"They're victimized (by) people who are taking advantage of their status here and, therefore, they don't report crime. Crime is underreported among immigrants," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. "Now they're even more frightened about being deported. . . . That's why police departments are reluctant to engage in immigration enforcement based on status."

Sheriff's officials say the operations haven't harmed community relations in places such as Guadalupe, where a sweep last spring led to protests, a confrontation with then-Mayor Rebecca Jimenez and ultimately her ouster.

Many Guadalupe residents say the relationship between deputies and community members was always strained, and the sweep only exacerbated that distrust.

Engendering trust in the community isn't the aim of the operations.

It's hard to measure success when the goal is deterrence. A recent study from the Center for Immigration Studies indicates the number of illegal immigrants in Arizona could have dropped as much as 30 percent in the past two years. A variety of factors, including a deep recession and stepped-up enforcement at the border, also could have played a role.

Arpaio prefers to take credit for the trend.

"We think the word is out, (illegal immigrants) are leaving," he said. "There are just not that many here like there were a year ago, two years ago."

Regardless of whether the sheriff signs a new agreement with ICE, Arpaio has an "ace in the hole."

He can continue conducting the sweeps and other immigration-enforcement efforts thanks to a series of state laws.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas interpreted the state's human-smuggling law to charge illegal immigrants as co-conspirators in their own smuggling, a Class 4 felony. Proposition 100 denies bond to illegal immigrants accused of a Class 4 felony or higher. A series of employer-sanctions claims give Arpaio's deputies a reason to review records of thousands of workers when they receive credible information about illegal hiring practices.

Deputies ultimately raid businesses armed with warrants for employees suspected of identity theft and forgery.

ICE can't stop Arpaio from doing any of that, but the agency will let him keep the successful jail operation, if the sheriff gives up his practice of arresting illegal border crossers who've committed no other crime.

"I know one decision: I'm not stopping," Arpaio said. "Nothing is going to change. They can keep trying to come after me. They can keep trying to restrict me with more policies."