SOURCE: Judicial Watch

August 29, 2007 16:08 ET

Judicial Watch Lodges Complaint Against Phoenix Officials With Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Behalf of Local Small Business Coalition

Questions Over Phoenix Mayor's Role in Ultimatum to Business Owners to Stop Enforcement Efforts or Face Illegal Immigrant "Day Laborer" Protests and Intimidation

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - August 29, 2007) - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has lodged a complaint with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on behalf of a group of Phoenix businesses, organized as the "36th & Thomas Business Coalition," concerning the actions of Phoenix city officials over police enforcement policies and actions relating to "day laborers" trespassing and soliciting. The complaint was lodged during a meeting between Sheriff Arpaio and Judicial Watch Director of Research and Investigation Chris Farrell and business leaders on August 28th.

Judial Watch was told that after months of suffering up to 200 "day laborers" soliciting work from sidewalks and trespassing on private property along the busy Thomas Road business district, local small business owners banded together to hire off-duty Phoenix Police officers to enforce trespassing and solicitation laws. The crime rate in the area plummeted as a result of this business community effort and no more than a dozen "day laborers" remained in the area.

Unhappy with the business community's successful law enforcement program, Phoenix advocates for illegal immigration orchestrated disruptive protests in front of a prominent local business in the area during the normally busy holiday shopping period following Thanksgiving. The Business Coalition reports that the "day laborer" protesters engaged in a campaign of threats, coercion and intimidation against the business owner and customers were blocked from entering the parking lot. The "community activist" organizers of this criminal activity threatened additional protests unless the business coalition dropped their to-date successful law enforcement program.

In early December 2006, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon brokered a meeting in his City Hall office between illegal immigration advocates representing "day laborers" and representatives of the citizen taxpayers that comprise the 36th & Thomas Business Coalition. Mayor Gordon participated in the meeting and gave business owners an ultimatum to terminate their off-duty police enforcement program or face continued protests. A "temporary solution" to manage the hundreds of men loitering on the streets was promised to the business owners, but was never delivered. Public records requests by Judicial Watch to Mayor Gordon have resulted in no records of meeting notes, briefing papers or orders to the Phoenix Police concerning this matter. As a result of the Mayor's intervention, the illegal immigrant day labor problem continues in this key Phoenix business district.

In a statement, Sheriff Arpaio said: "When Washington politicians refused to do what is right in the fight against illegal immigration, I acted. And, if local politicians only interested in their own elections and ambitions are refusing to do what is right here, conspiring to subvert the law, I promise you I will act, and do whatever is necessary to uphold the law."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated, "We are hopeful Sheriff Arpaio and other public officials further enforce the law and protect law-abiding Phoenix taxpayers who are under siege by illegal immigrant day laborers."

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jill Farrell
    Judicial Watch
    202-646-5188