Immigrant Rights Clinic presents arguments for plaintiffs in federal court case Puente v. Arpaio

Oct. 17, 2016

Image of Liz Hercules Paez in Federal District courtroom in Phoenix Oct. 13, 2016

The UCI Law Immigrant Rights Clinic was in federal district court in Phoenix, Arizona, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 in Puente v. Arpaio, a lawsuit filed in 2014 to challenge Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s worksite raids and the legality of state-level efforts to criminally punish undocumented immigrants for the use of false identity information to get a job. The Clinic is serving as lead counsel in the case involving a coalition of civil and immigrants’  rights advocacy groups.

In court, Immigrant Rights Clinic student Liz Hercules Paez ’17 and Co-Director Prof. Annie Lai argued that Sheriff Arpaio and County Attorney Bill Montgomery violated the Constitution by using portions of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) and Arizona’s felony forgery statute to systematically investigate, detain and prosecute undocumented immigrants who are working to provide for their families. The plaintiffs have asked the court for a permanent injunction and expungement of the convictions of two workers prosecuted under the laws.

“Arizona overstepped its authority when it recast its identity theft laws to target undocumented workers,” said Hercules-Paez. “Arpaio and Montgomery’s enforcement of them has not only been cruel, unjust and degrading, but also unconstitutional.”

Two other clinic students, Jennifer Kim ’17  and Rochelle Rotea ’18, represented the legal team in a press conference and helped prepare case materials.

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