Returning democratic rights back to the people of Arizona
February 13, 2015
(Washington, D.C.) – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Maricopa County v. Lopez-Valenzuela, a case currently pending approval for a hearing before the Supreme Court. (Civil Action No. 14-825). IRLI’s brief is in support of the petitioner, Maricopa County, which seeks to appeal a decision by the Ninth Circuit invalidating the entirety of Arizona’s Proposition 100. That law, passed by a 75 percent majority, provided for categorical denials of bail to persons who are charged with one of the four most serious categories of felonies, and for whom there is both probable cause that the person is illegally present in the United States and evident proof of guilt of the felony charged. Although there are recent studies showing this category absconds from removal hearings at a rate of 78 percent, the Ninth Circuit was unsatisfied with Maricopa County’s contention that criminal aliens pose a “significantly greater flight risk than lawful residents.” Moreover, this decision, from the Ninth Circuit’s full panel, rejected the Ninth Circuit’s three-judge panel, which had previously agreed with Maricopa County.
In their supplemental brief filed today (attached here), IRLI argues that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling conflicts with Supreme Court precedent and ignores widely available evidence that deportable criminal aliens as a group pose a serious flight risk. IRLI also provides statistics showing alien non-appearance rates, rates of alien-criminal activity prior to removal orders, and a study linking the immigration authorities’ failure to detain criminal aliens with heightened rates of failed removals. IRLI also noted that because the Obama Administration’s new deportation priorities align with the bail-denial criteria under Proposition 100, the Ninth Circuit should have viewed these aliens as even more likely to be targeted for removal and therefore more likely to abscond.
Dale Wilcox, Executive Director of IRLI, commented, “The en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit has stated that criminal aliens re-entering the communities of Arizona is not really a problem. In our brief filed today, we argue that this is absolutely false.” Wilcox continued, “Criminal aliens refusing to face trial for their crimes is a serious problem for American citizens and Arizonan residents in particular. The people of Arizona spoke when they voted overwhelmingly to pass Proposition 100. The integrity of that law and the dignity of Arizonans should be allowed to stand.”