The Arizona Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of an illegal alien prosecuted as a co-conspirator under the state’s human-smuggling law.
The court found that the law’s wording is clear and unambiguous — illegals can be convicted for conspiracy to smuggle themselves into the country.
The defendant, Juan Barragan-Sierra of Mexico, had argued that the Arizona Legislature didn’t intend to punish anyone but smugglers when it passed the law. The 2005 law made it a state crime to smuggle humans, already a federal crime.
Prosecutors working for the office of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas have successfully prosecuted more than 750 such defendants — charged and convicted of violating the law as conspirators. Convictions can bring up to two years in prison.
Barragan-Sierra, 23, had admitted paying a smuggler $2,000 to be taken into the U.S. in June 2006, according to the daily.
Thomas called the court’s ruling intellectually courageous. “It’s another historic milestone in the fight against illegal immigration, and it shows that Maricopa County continues to lead the way in that effort,” he said.
This decision cannot be warmly received by the editorial board at the Arizona Republic which advocates on behalf of the continual flow of illegal traffic into the United States in editorials, fluff features, poignant photos, skewed news reports, via columnists and the paper’s favorite top-of-the-editorial page brief blurbs.