- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2007

An illegal alien who lost his job because of Arizona‘s still-pending employer-sanctions law has been indicted by a grand jury in Phoenix on charges of armed robbery, theft and aggravated assault.

Ruben Aragon Parra, 19, told Phoenix police he needed money because he and two others were fired from a landscaping job because his employer, who was not identified, was afraid of the state’s new employer-sanctions law.

Mr. Aragon Parra is accused of stealing a truck and later robbing a man in a park. A suspected accomplice, Salvador Antonio Monreal-Camargo, 24, also was indicted in the case. A third man, Guillermo Garcia, 34, was found riding in the stolen truck and was accused of unlawfully using a stolen vehicle.

All three were identified as being in the country illegally. Mr. Monreal-Camargo also told police he had entered the U.S. illegally seven years ago and had been deported three times.

“These crimes remind us once again why a porous border threatens the safety and well-being of the people of Arizona,” said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew P. Thomas, whose office sought the indictment.

Beginning Jan. 1, the state’s new employer-sanctions law will enforce the federal Basic Pilot Program, which would require employers to verify the eligibility of their workers through a nationwide database that checks a person’s Social Security number as well as his or her immigration status.

Employers who are found to have knowingly hired illegal workers could have their business license suspended for a minimum of 10 days for a first offense, and risk revocation of that license, as well as all other state-issued licenses, for a second offense.

The law has been challenged in federal court and U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake in Phoenix has promised to rule on the matter before the law’s Jan. 1 enforcement date. Judge Wake, who was appointed by President Bush, has called for final arguments in the case to be heard in late October or November.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Department of Revenue has begun mailings to all Arizona businesses, informing them of the coming law.

Mr. Thomas has said the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has entered into an agreement with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to jointly investigate potential violations of the new employer-sanctions law, saying they would field complaints from citizens regarding suspected violators and act on them through intergovernmental agreement.

He said that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies will investigate potential violations and that his office will analyze the cases to determine if there is sufficient evidence to go to court and seek to suspend or revoke the business license of the employer.

Maricopa County has been granted a budget of $1.4 million to help enforce this law, which designates county attorneys as the enforcement agencies. Under the agreement between the two offices, up to $1 million from that fund may be spent to help fund the sheriff’s enforcement efforts.

“In seeking a partner for enforcing Arizona’s new employer-sanctions law, I found the choice was clear,” Mr. Thomas said. “Sheriff Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have a proven track record of enforcing our immigration laws and not caving in to political correctness.

“Honest businesses owners who play by the rules and make an innocent mistake have nothing to fear from us,” he said. “On the other hand, employers who knowingly or intentionally hire illegal immigrants are right to be worried.”

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