I'd like to take issues with your stance against County Attorney Andrew Thomas as reported by the AR.
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 5, 2006 12:00 AM
The lawmaker who sponsored a new state law aimed at battling migrant smuggling said Friday that Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas violated the measure's intent by sanctioning the arrests of 54 undocumented immigrants.
"Are you kidding me? What good is the measures intent if it does not include the arrest of the illegal aliens as well?"
The intent of the anti-smuggling law, passed last year, was to go after smugglers, not migrants, said state Rep. Jonathan Paton, a Tucson Republican.
"Really? The odd thing is that most American citizens including myself actually have the biggest problem with our state being over run by illegal aliens, regardless of how they got here. Where did you ever get the idea that we actually have the biggest problem with the smugglers themselves and not the illegal aliens? You are sadly mistaken, and taking a typical politicians approach, passing legislation that actually doesn't address the real problem"
His comments came Friday, a day after Maricopa County sheriff's deputies charged 54 undocumented immigrants discovered in furniture trucks with conspiring with their smuggler to enter the country illegally.
It was the first time undocumented immigrants have been arrested with a felony punishable by up to two years in prison under the state's new anti-smuggling law.
"Hopefully this trend of going against "your" intent continues"
An immigration-law expert said the arrests raise significant questions, while Thomas' office said that using the measure was appropriate in arresting undocumented immigrants who use smugglers.
"Drug dealers and drug buyers are both dealt with harshly. The same applies here. I can't understand how you can't see that. Actually, I think you do, you're pretending not to in hopes of getting the Hispanic vote. Note: Most American Hispanics support the removal of illegal aliens by any means necessary as well, you're misinformed again"
Paton said he's doubtful the law would have passed muster with lawmakers and the governor if they knew it would be used to arrest undocumented immigrants.
"Probably not with the liberal governor, the governor is notoriously soft on illegal immigration, although she has a habit of pretending to be tough on it when she believes that's what the people want to hear. Although I expect that of her, I don't expect that from politicians that claim to be Republicans. Why would anyone in their right mind NOT want it used to arrest illegal aliens?"
"I gave them my word that it was only to go after the smugglers," Paton said. "We probably wouldn't have gotten the votes and the (governor's) signature to get it passed into law."
"Well, if that’s the case, it’s a good thing Andrew Thomas has not followed your intent. Can you explain to me why lawmakers and the governor would NOT want it to include the illegal aliens in addition to the smugglers? What’s the point if it doesn’t? That simply makes no sense at all."
Paton said he shares Thomas' frustration over illegal immigration in Arizona.
"Apparently you do not! If you did, you would support Andrew Thomas."
"But it would be better to have a separate law" that charged undocumented immigrants with being in the country illegally "rather than tying them to smuggling," he said.
"Separate law? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there already are Federal laws that address this. The problem is that no one is using them. I see no disadvantage to tying the illegal aliens themselves into the smuggling measure."
As written, the anti-smuggling law does not exclude undocumented immigrants, said Barnett Lotstein, Thomas' special assistant deputy attorney.
Lawmakers also have had plenty of time to amend the anti-smuggling measure since Sept. 29 when Thomas announced that, under his interpretation of the law, undocumented immigrants could be charged as co-conspirators.
"As they should. Illegal aliens ARE co-conspirators, they are not victims as often portrayed in the Arizona Republic."
"This seems to be a lot of buyer's remorse," Lotstein said.
Legal experts said the arrests are unprecedented in the United States and likely will have a difficult time standing up in court.
"I doubt that."
"The question is not whether the smuggling statute allows him to go after the immigrants but rather whether using the conspiracy statute is within his power," said Evelyn Cruz, director of the Immigration Law and Policy Clinic at Arizona State University.
Cruz said arresting undocumented immigrants as conspirators undermines the anti-smuggling statute.
"I can’t see how that could be."
"It may weaken the ability of prosecutors to go after the smugglers because it scares the witnesses," she said.
Arresting undocumented immigrants under the anti-smuggling law also wastes resources better spent going after smugglers, she said.
"The illegal aliens are the biggest part of the problem. More so than the smugglers are."
"You need to kill the root, not trim the branches," Cruz said.
"We need to do both!"
Deputies didn't arrest any undocumented immigrants under the anti-smuggling law until this week because they were waiting for a good case, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
He said charges have been dropped against three of the 54 undocumented immigrants because they lacked evidence. The three were turned over to federal immigration officials.
The other 51 all made incriminating statements that they paid a smuggler up to $2,000 each to enter the country illegally, he said.
I’m looking forward to your reply.
Sincerely, Steve Leach
OK, well it may not be much, but it's better than just bitching about it here on ARFCOM. I doubt it will accomplish anything, but we'll see I guess.
Good job. Keep the pressure on and maybe someday they will listen.
i've already sent letters to both my US senators and HOR rep re illegal aliens. This is what we need to do. If enough people bitch, something WILL happen. And I mean bitching in official correspondence to reps, NOT just bitching on ARFCOM
Yeah, if we all did it everyday, maybe then someone will start to listen.
Being quite makes them think we don't care what they do.
This is the reply I got from Republican state Rep. Jonathan Paton:
From your letter it sounds as though you are assuming that I do not think illegal should go to jail for coming to this country illegally. You are sadly mistaken. I voted for and supported two bills that made the act of entering the country illegally a state crime. I made sure I told that to the associated press when they called. They did not print that, which is pretty typical of the liberal media but you believed them anyway. That is not what the language of my bill said, though. It's pretty clear how it was drafted and that is what I testified to at the time. I was specifically asked if my bill would allow prosecutors to go after illegal aliens I said 'no'. Why did I draft it that way? I did so we would not interfere with another bill that would do just that. So when I was asked by the associated press if this is what I intended I told them that. For me to say otherwise would be a lie.
Just because something works out for the benefit of me or the state does not give me the right to lie and take claim for unintended consequences. I don't see the integrity in that.
If you would look at my voting record on each of the 36 bills that have come through regarding illegal immigration it is pretty clear that I have taken a strong stance on prosecuting those who come into this country, those who bring them and those who hire and protect them when they get here. I have voted for every single bill and I will continue to. But I am not going to lie and say that I dreamed up this way to prosecute illegal aliens by secretly slipping it into my bill without anyone knowing.
I did not say that I did not think illegals should not be punished for entering into the country illegally--in fact I voted for that bill last year and this year. That is not what our bill said, though. When I had the bill drafted it was separate from another bill that made illegal immigration a crime of trespassing. They called me to ask if that was what intended when the bill was passed and I was perfectly honest: we did not draft it that way.
Apparently, Mr. Thomas agrees that was my intent because he has been working with me on a bill this session that will allow prosecutors to detain illegals to build cases against those who brought them here. Why not just arrest them if he thinks he has the authority?
You asked why I want to go after smugglers. My district covers much of the border area and the smugglers are the ones who are assaulting border patrol, cutting cattle fences, poisoning cattle and compromising our national security. No federal law allows immigrants to be put in jail and the federal government has thus far not effectively prosecuted the smugglers who bring them into the country. It is for this reason I have supported both a bill to go after the smugglers, a bill to go after the immigrants, a bill to go after the employers who hire them. Why are they separate laws? Because that is how the statutes are written.
Then I sent this:
Thanks for your reply. Granted, the AZ Republic is
notorious for being sympathetic to illegal aliens and are
also known to be left wing.
If I have mistaken your intent based off of the Republics
article, then I appologize, but it sure was written in such
a way as to show your stance as strong against the
"coyotes", but not so much agaisnt the illegal aliens
themselves, which is of course is the stance the Republic
What I don't understand is that if there are other bills
that address the illegal alien problem directly why are
they not being used? They sure don't seem to be as the
illegal alien population in the greater Phoenix area is
literally out of control. I would estimate that there are
several hundred thousand here at least. A number that is
insanely unacceptable, for lack of a better word to
describe it. I can only imagine that it is even worse near
the border, even though it seems hard to believe that the
problem could be any worse anywhere else.
I don't believe that the smugglers should not be dealt
with, in fact they are equally a problem. My point was the
the illegals themselves are no less an issue. I also
realize that this is supposed to be a Federal issue, and
their lack of action is utterly absurd. I'm having a real
hard time trying to understand the governments inaction.
This isn't an issue of a few migrant farm workers, this is
an all out invasion of our country...it has to be stopped
by whatever means necessary.
I'm a born and raised Arizona native, I've lived here my
entire life (38 years) and it's sickening to see the city I
grew up in and want to live the rest of my life in go to
shit because of some sort of political reasons that I can't
begin to understand. I should not have to sit back and
watch as my government refuses to address a problem that
has such a negative impact on my city, the state of AZ and
the country as a whole.
What is it going to take to get some actual results from
our elected officials? I'm not pinning this on you, I mean
every elected official from the President on down to the
state level? There has to be a way to address this right
now. We don't have anymore time to waste with meaningless
discussion, new bills or whatever. I'm getting sick of the
evening news being filled with home invasions, robberies
and murder associated with illegal aliens. I'm also sick of
the crimes that don't make the evening news such as car
theft, identity theft, uninsured drivers causing auto
accidents, welfare fraud and the bankrupting of our medical
system which is also associated with illegal aliens.
It has to stop now. There is no more time left for talk.
Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Steve *****
I just sent it, waiting for his reply.
that was a great final response to him 89grand, thanks for your effort.
Thanks to all you guys down there! You are on the frontlines of this war!
Thanks for the support. I wish more people would take this invasion more seriously.
If we don't take a stand now in any great numbers, it'll be too late.