Saturday, June 10, 2006

Arizona Upholds Immigrant Smuggling Law

A judge has upheld an Arizona law that makes immigrant smuggling a state crime.
Judge Thomas O'Toole rejected arguments that the law was never intended to target immigrants -- only the human traffickers they hire. O'Toole says there's no evidence that lawmakers "intended to exclude any prosecution for conspiracy to commit human smuggling." Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has used the law to charge more than 200 people, most of them immigrants accused of paying to be smuggled into Arizona.
Judge Thomas O'Toole
Defense lawyers and the law's author said it was intended to apply only to smugglers. Defense attorneys also called it an unconstitutional attempt by the state to regulate immigration, which they contend is under the exclusive control of the federal government. The Arizona Legislature passed the law in August amid growing frustration over the state's porous 375-mile border with Mexico.