OCTOBER 01, 2007
An Arizona townâ??s new law passed to curb traffic hazards by banning loitering and prohibiting drivers from stopping on public roads has already led to the arrest of nine illegal immigrants.
Located east of Phoenix in Maricopa County, the town of Cave Creek is only about 31 square miles and has a population of about 5,000 but officials said a tremendous safety hazard, more typical of a big city, had been brewing for years and they felt an obligation to end it.
Each day cars would stop in the middle of the townâ??s main road, Cave Creek Drive, to pick up day laborers who loiter on streets seeking work. Many are illegal immigrants who often hang outside a nearby church that has acted as a sort of day laborer center for years.
Although the townâ??s law doesnâ??t officially take effect until next month, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has begun enforcing it this week. Sheriff Arpaio is well known for cracking down on illegal immigration in his county and creating a hot line seeking the publicâ??s help to rid the area of illegal aliens that create public safety issues.
His departmentâ??s deputies have been trained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws and so far 702 illegal immigrants have been arrested under Arizonaâ??s smuggling laws and more than 4,200 under federal immigration laws.
Lack of immigration enforcement by the federal government has pushed dozens of U.S. cities to pass laws similar to Cave Creekâ??s. Another Arizona city (Mesa) recently passed a measure banning parking in certain areas to tackle the day laborer crisis and state legislators approved a law making it illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers.
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