Arizona Couple Among Dozens To Get Deportation Relief

Salvatierra has argued it's a conflict for the federal government to take these felony convictions at face value.

"How can one arm of the Department of Justice be suing and be arguing that MCSO's conduct in these worksite raids is unconstitutional and a violation of civil rights," she said, while at the same time, the Immigration Court — which is also housed within the Department of Justice — deports those immigrants arrested by the Sheriff.

In late May, a federal judge presiding over a different racial profiling suit against Arpaio found his office violated the law in its treatment of Latino motorists.

Salvatierra said she believes that verdict has made it easier to convince ICE and immigration judges to look at these identity theft felonies in Maricopa County differently.

"I think that the trend and growing sentiment is to really undermine those convictions that arise against Latinos and undocumented workers by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County Attorney's Office," she said.

ICE would not comment beyond a statement saying it is "focused on sensible, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators."

Given that, Arpaio said he thought it was strange that the Figueroas weren't deported.

"Because I thought that felons were one of the priorities of the government to deport," Arpaio said.

But he said it is ultimately the federal government's choice.

"I'm going to continue to do my policy, which is to enforce the fake ID laws," Arpaio said.

In fact, the same day the Figueroas' deportation case was closed, Sheriff's deputies swarmed two Phoenix-area restaurants and arrested nine workers on identity theft charges. A tenth was arrested on other charges.

It was the first such worksite raid in five months. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office had temporarily suspended those operations in light of the federal judge's racial profiling ruling against the office.

Immigrant rights advocates say they believed Wednesdays arrests were retaliation.

Apraio said it would be impossible to launch a raid that quickly, and said the investigation began more than nine months ago.

He also said the operation has "nothing to do with illegal immigration."

"These are state investigations for ID theft," Arpaio said. "It has no bearing on where they come from."

Salvatierra said she applauds the county cracking down on people who steal other people's identities and wreak havoc with their finances.

"We have no problem with the sheriff enforcing those laws," Salvatierra said. "We just don't think they should be applied in the way they have been against the undocumented for working."

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