Upheld: ID Theft Laws Used by Sheriff Arpaio to Prosecute Illegal Aliens

POSTS

A federal district court judge in Arizona has upheld two identity theft laws used to prosecute illegal aliens in employment raids by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The case involves the constitutionality of two Arizona laws that provide for criminal penalties when an act of identity theft is done with the intent to obtain or continue employment (statute amended in 2007 and 2008 to apply specifically to the use of false identities to obtain employment), and another statute that makes it a crime to commit forgery (passed in 1977).

Most of the tips that generated investigations by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) were from citizens in the community about a place of business or its employees and were made on telephone and email hotlines set up by the MCSO. The department would investigate, and if there was evidence of a crime, would apply for and execute a search warrant for the employment worksite. While executing the warrant, the MCSO would seize employment files and arrest workers they believed had committed identity theft or forgery.

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