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Posted on: June 25, 2012

County Attorney Comments on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on SB 1070

PHOENIX, AZ (June 25, 2012) – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery released the following statement today on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on SB 1070:

Earlier this month, the President played election year politics, pandering without offering a real solution to matters of great concern to Arizona and our Nation. Today, the Supreme Court upheld the rule of law. Tomorrow, Arizona law enforcement will continue to do their job on our behalf, respecting the civil rights of all and upholding our state and federal constitutions and real prosecutors will exercise true discretion without violating our oath to uphold the law.

SB 1070 was the latest effort by Arizona to address the consequences arising from the failure of the federal government to enforce our laws regarding the proper manner and method for immigrants to come to America in pursuit of their hopes and dreams, as well as the failure to exercise the basic duties of a sovereign nation to control the entry and departure of persons across our borders. Our nation’s history has been forged with the contributions of immigrants from around the world and she will continue to grow and prosper under a sensible and sane approach to immigration. Nevertheless, the consequences of ignoring our laws and permitting an environment in which the criminal impact of illegal immigration continues to affect the people of Arizona and of Maricopa County must be addressed and will be by local and state officials, even if the federal government officially turns a blind eye.

Alleged violations of provisions of SB 1070, while referencing misdemeanor conduct, may be submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (“MCAO”) in cases where allegations of felony offenses arise from the same investigation. Submittals requesting charges for conduct prescribed by SB 1070 will be reviewed for charging and prosecution by MCAO. Accordingly, as Maricopa County law enforcement officers and deputies carry out their duties and investigate alleged violations of prohibited activity per SB 1070, the following guidance is offered:

  • Pursuant to A.R.S. § 11-1051(B), “[a] reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation.” The Maricopa County Attorney interprets this provision to preclude inquiry into the immigration status of a victim of a crime or a witness to a crime as it would “hinder or obstruct the investigation.” Accordingly, submittals for allegations of conduct prescribed by SB 1070 where the immigration status of a victim or a witness to a crime resulted from an investigation of the crime the person is a victim of or witness to will not be charged or prosecuted by the MCAO.
  • Violations of A.R.S. § 13-2319 address instances of “smuggling human beings for profit or commercial purpose.” Accordingly, circumstances in which transportation of persons present without lawful authority for religious services or healthcare where no profit or commercial purpose exists will not be charged or prosecuted by the MCAO.
  • Violations of A.R.S. § 13-2929 and 28-3511 address circumstances in which a criminal offense has been committed and there is/are a person or persons present without lawful authority. Therefore, submittals where the only alleged criminal conduct is the immigration status of the subject in question will be furthered for identification of a necessary predicate criminal offense or turned down where no predicate criminal offense is identifiable.

With respect to the preceding guidance, or any other aspect of SB 1070 enforcement, it is important to note that the federal administration’s pronouncement of exercising “prosecutorial discretion” for those unlawfully present who entered the United States as juveniles, does not, in fact, create a lawful status for these individuals.


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