Skip to comments.Striking changes in Arizona as illegal immigrants flee the state
Posted on 05/15/2008 1:51:56 PM PDT by az4vlad
Since Arizona's local law enforcement began enforcing illegal immigration laws and an employer sanctions law went into effect, illegal immigrants have been fleeing the state in large numbers. The effects have been far-ranging. Commuters are reporting fewer vehicles on the freeways, shortening their rush-hour commutes. What had become a serious transportation problem in Arizona is losing its urgency. English Learner Language (ELL) students started dropping out of school. This helped end a confrontation between the state legislature and a liberal federal judge who had ordered the state to spend more money on ELL classes.
Fewer illegal immigrants are using hospital emergency rooms, so waiting times have decreased. Although the rest of the country is in an economic slump, unemployment is going down in Arizona, from 4.5% in January to 4.1% in March. Day laborers loitering outside of Home Depot and other stores have mostly disappeared, ending months of confrontation between illegal immigrant sympathizers and protesters. Desert lands near the border are returning to their pristine condition and the wildlife is coming back. Identity theft and car thefts are decreasing. No one showed up on May 1 to march in immigrant rallies.
With illegal immigrants leaving, the state will see huge savings as fewer illegal immigrants use social welfare programs and the cost of arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating and deporting them decreases. Arizona is facing one of the worst budget deficits ever, looming as high as $2 billion in 2009, but the situation may resolve itself.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas are leading the local law enforcement efforts in Arizona against illegal immigration. Arizona is also home to State Representative Russell Pearce, who is responsible for spearheading possibly more laws against illegal immigration than any other state representative in the country. It is also home to Chris Simcox, President of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. Other counties around the state are beginning to follow the lead of Maricopa County, signing agreements with I.C.E. to permit their law enforcement agencies to arrest illegal immigrants. Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer intends to prosecute illegal immigrants for trespassing on public lands. Mesa mayor Keno Hawker recently wrote an op-ed in the East Valley Tribune praising Sheriff Joe Arpaio's sweeps of illegal immigrants. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik bypassed the Pima County Supervisors when they refused to authorize him to add two Border Patrol agents to his border crime unit, and added them anyways.
Although Arizona's Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano has vetoed most illegal immigration bills since 2002 when she entered office, Arizonans have bypassed her by sending initiatives directly to the ballot. In 2004, voters passed four illegal immigration measures with over 70% yes margins. A law targeting drophouses was signed into law earlier this month. An even stricter employer sanctions measure is currently underway to be on the ballot this fall.
Arizona's llegal immigrants are fleeing to sanctuary cities like San Francisco and states with less enforcement and laws prohibiting illegal immigration like Nebraska, Iowa, and Maryland. Since one out of every illegal immigrant is a felon, the result is felons are disproportionately moving to these places.
Granted there are benefits that immigrants bring to our country. But those benefits are outweighed by the negatives when the immigrants cross illegally. There are too many rules, laws, traditions, and practices in society that conflict with illegal immigrants trying to make a living. Arizona's experiment may end up resolving the illegal immigration problem satisfactorily for all, because once the fiscal expense of illegal immigrants is brought down, revising the laws to permit more immigrants to enter the country legally will become more attractive and realistic.
I tend to believe them, but they are still unsubstantiated.
violating our borders and entering illegally USED to be a felony but the dimocrat controlled congress in 1986 reduced the penalty to a misdemeanor when they approved the amnesty for the purported 400,000 illegals then in the country (which turned out to be 4M instead).
John McCain wants them too. So do the other two traitors running for POTUS. Here are the Senators who voted against the Cornyn amendment , which would have established a permanent bar for gang members, terrorists, and other criminals looking to snag a shamnesty visa. Republicans underlined:
We have a voter ID law. Someone earlier said she is term limited.
Soon hopefully. Butch Nappy just signed an illegal executive order taking away $$$ for inforcing the hunt for illegal immigrants and their transporters, even though state lawmakers passed legislation to fund the Sherrifs office to enforce the illegal problem.
That bit about the ELL students dropping out and the judge being satisfied?
Not true. The legislature coughed up another $40 Million for ELL, and the folks who sued in the first place are going back to the judge to insist that it isn’t enough.
There’ve been no published stats that I’ve seen to support the author’s claim in that instance.
Marc Victor’s opinion of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas
Subject: Criminal Justice System
County attorney gets tough; defenders get rich
Jill Redhage, Tribune
Click Here to see the the Tribune article and the excellent reader opinions :)
Business for Valley defense attorneys is booming. Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has been cracking down on criminals since 2004, and public defenders have scrambled to keep up as prison populations have swelled.
When Thomas came in, caseloads started going up much more, said Tempe defense attorney David Cantor.
He said the trend started with former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, but attorneys saw a distinct caseload change with Thomas.
The number of criminal cases filed in Maricopa County Superior Court has risen every year since at least 2001. County prosecutors filed more than 28,000 criminal cases in fiscal year 2000-01. In fiscal year 2005-06, that number exceeded 39,000.
In the wake, some defense attorneys are gaining clients. Others have kept their workloads constant but charge higher fees for their services.
We charge 50 percent higher fees because we have to go to trial, and trials are expensive, said Larry Debus, a Phoenix defense attorney.
Debus said his firm grows about 20 percent each year.
We get more and more business all the time, he said. We get more today because when more cases go to trial, more defendants want private attorneys.
TRIALS ON THE RISE
Defense attorneys blame prosecutors undesirable plea agreements for what they feel is a rise in the number of cases going to trial.
Theyre overcharging for felonies that should be misdemeanors, Cantor said. Then they plea to the lead charge, but their lead charge is too stiff. This means everything goes to trial.
Michael Freeman, an attorney with Wolf & Associates, agreed.
Charges are more serious than they were two years ago for the same type of crimes, he said. For example, cases that should be charged as simple possession of drugs, or personal possession, are now being charged as possession for sale with a possible mandatory prison sentence.
In November, Thomas said that for second offenses, he would only approve plea deals requiring a prison sentence. He estimated that would mean an additional 2,600 prison inmates each year, which would cost taxpayers an additional $53 million.
Tempe defense attorney Craig Penrod said more felony DUI cases are going to trial that should be settled with plea deals.
Penrod also said he saw prosecutors charge a man who sexually assaulted an infant the same way they charged stepsiblings who had consensual sex, because of Thomas rote plea agreements.
Another difficulty is that deadlines for plea agreements have been shorter recently, according to Mesa defense attorney Anthony Bingham.
But statistics indicate that the perceived rise in trials may be imagined.
In fiscal year 2000-01, 825 cases went to trial. That figure was 817 in fiscal year 2005-06, according to the Maricopa County Superior Court.
Prosecutors acknowledged that defendants are having to plea to harsher sentences.
We offer plea agreements that we feel are fair, taking into account the defendants background, prior convictions, victims rights and the evidence, said Barnett Lotstein, spokesman for the county attorney. But we have no obligation to offer plea agreements.
BUSY PUBLIC DEFENDERS
Freeman said he can control his caseload as a private attorney, and he hasnt taken on more cases in recent years.
But he has had more opportunities, he said, thanks to Mr. Thomas literally swamping all the public defender and court-appointed attorneys by the number of cases that hes filing.
Annual reports from the Maricopa County Public Defenders Office show its caseload rising from 36,637 cases in 2001 to 46,315 in 2005.
By 2005, the offices caseload warranted more than 286 attorneys, according to industry standards. But the office employed fewer than 234 attorneys, the annual report showed.
Public defenders for the most part do a great job, Debus said. But they have 10 times as many cases as private attorneys. Public defenders have 50 to 100 cases at any given time. I do probably 20 cases in a year.
Maricopa County Public Defender James Haas office did not return calls for comment.
COST OF JUSTICE
More cases mean more prisoners.
The states prison population is now almost 35,000. About 60 percent are from the Valley, according to the Council of State Governments Justice System, a nonpartisan organization.
That number could grow by 52 percent to reach 56,660 by 2017, the organization reports, meaning an extra $3 billion for taxpayers.
Jim Austin, a prison system expert, said the states gettough attitude on all types of crime, including low-level offenses, is one cause for the rise. He also cited longer sentences.
Criminal justice is not cost effective, Lotstein explained. If decisions were made according to cost, he said theyd buy a new car for a victim of car theft instead of prosecute the case.
Its really a red herring to think that we should forgo justice to save money. The first priority of the justice system is to protect citizens. What is the cost to the public if a burglar is let back on the streets? Lotstein asked.
Most defense attorneys dont thank Thomas for making them richer.
I would prefer to make less money and have more justice, said Marc Victor, a Chandler defense attorney and criminal law specialist. Victor said he can charge $15,000 for work that his brother, a defense attorney in Massachusetts, can only charge $2,500.
Andrew Thomas has been good for business, but bad for justice, Victor said.
Debus framed the situation differently.
I say hes a great county attorney, he said. We charge higher fees and we get to go to trial more, which is what we do best.