Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sheriff Joe Arpaio loses narrow appeal on immigration law limit

A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied an Arizona sheriff's request to reverse a lower-court decision barring his deputies from detaining people solely on the suspicion that they're illegal immigrants.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a 23-page ruling after considering the narrow question of a preliminary injunction while a Phoenix trial court considers the merits of the entire lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The appeals court ruling focused only on the lower court's limit on Arpaio's immigration powers and doesn't confront the case's ultimate question of whether deputies in Arizona's most populous county have racially profiled Latinos on their patrols.

A three-judge panel ruled U.S. District Judge Murray Snow didn't abuse his authority in granting the order and said the ruling didn't impair the sheriff's ability to enforce state and federal criminal laws.

A call to Arpaio's office for reaction to the appeals court ruling wasn't immediately returned Tuesday evening.

A small group of Latinos claim Arpaio's deputies pulled over some vehicles only to make immigration status checks during regular traffic patrols and the sheriff's 20 special immigration patrols.

A federal judge in December ordered Arpaio's department to refrain from conducting such traffic stops while the class action suit was being considered.  Arpaio appealed, arguing his deputies had probable cause to make the stops.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other attorneys filed a federal lawsuit in 2007 against the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America."

The Latino group also accuse Arpaio of ordering some of the patrols not based on reports of crime but rather on letters from Arizonans who complained about people with dark skin congregating in an area or speaking Spanish.

Arpaio has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying his deputies only stop people when they think a crime has been committed and that he wasn't the person who picked the location of the immigration patrols.

Both sides are awaiting Snow's verdict after a seven-day trial without a jury ended Aug. 2. Snow hasn't indicated when he would rule.

The lawsuit marks the first case in which the sheriff's office has been accused of systematically racially profiling Latinos, and will serve as a precursor for a similar yet broader civil rights lawsuit filed against Arpaio in May by the U.S. Department of Justice.

There has never been a finding by a court that Arpaio's office has racially profiled Latinos, though a case that made such an allegation was settled last year for $200,000 without an admission of wrongdoing by the sheriff's office.

Earlier Tuesday, the 9th Circuit turned back the latest effort by a civil rights coalition to bar police from enforcing the most contentious part of Arizona's immigration law.

Opponents of part of the law requiring police to question some people they contact about their immigration status wanted the federal appeals court to block its enforcement.

That provision survived a U.S. Supreme Court review and it went into effect Sept. 18 after a federal judge in Phoenix said it could be enforced.

The 9th Circuit denied the coalition's emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal and their request for certification to the Arizona Supreme Court. An attorney with the National Immigration Law Center said the coalition is assessing its next step.


Migration fuels 4m rise in population of England and Wales over the last 10 years

The number of people living in England and Wales has soared by around four million in only ten years, according to the latest count released yesterday.

The increase, driven by large-scale immigration, pushed up the population at its fastest rate during the past 100 years.

Rapid growth outpaced even the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s, the historic post-war period when record childbirth levels helped fuel long-term economic and social upheaval.

The scale of the population boom that has followed Labour’s decision to ease curbs on immigration after 1997 was revealed by the Office for National Statistics in new estimates for England and Wales in the middle of last year.

The figures showed the population rose by 3.8million, or 7.3 per cent, from 52.4million in 2001 to 56,170,900 last year. And in three months last year – between the day of the 2011 national census at the end of March and the end of June – the population went up by 95,000, the equivalent of a city the size of Worcester.

‘The population of England and Wales increased by approximately 20million during the last 100 years and by approximately four million during the last decade,’ the ONS said.

‘The increase in population between 2001 and 2011 was the largest in percentage terms in the last century.’

The decade between 1941 and 1951 showed a bigger jump, from 38.7million to 43.8million. But these figures were skewed because the 1941 wartime estimate left out millions in the forces.

ONS analysts said last year’s three-month population increase of 95,000 was a result of around 66,600 more births than deaths and net migration of 28,400. Net migration – the number of immigrants minus the number who have emigrated – was at a low level compared with other times of the year.

‘Immigration flows are higher in the later summer and autumn months, for example, when students enter the country to take up courses in higher education,’ the ONS report said. Migration is usually reckoned to be responsible for 70 per cent of new population growth, partly because of higher birth rates among recent immigrants.

Until now the recent population explosion was thought to be similar in scale to the baby boom that peaked 50 years ago. Between 1951 and 1961 the number in England and Wales rose by 2.4million, from 43.8million to 46.2million, while between 1961 and 1971 it increased by a further three million to 49.2million.

Yesterday’s figures show that the post-war increase has been eclipsed, mainly because of the opening of Britain’s borders after 1997 to migrants from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Sir Andrew Green, of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘This is further evidence to show that we must get immigration under control. It is driving the population up and up in numbers that we have never seen before.’

Coalition ministers have pledged to reduce levels of net migration to those of the 1990s – lower than 100,000 a year. But latest indicators show the annual total is still in excess of 200,000.

The population of the UK as a whole is around 63million. Home Secretary Theresa May has dismissed fears that a UK population of 70million – likely to be reached by 2027 – will put too great a strain on housing, transport, education and other state services.


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