The Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office—headed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio—learned the hard way May 24 that targeting immigration raids at areas where Latino day laborers congregate does not comport with the U.S. Constitution. A federal judge in Arizona ruled that deputies’ decisions of whether to stop a car for a traffic violation and investigate passengers’ immigration status was based in part on the Hispanic race of the car’s occupants, a no-no under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. The lawsuit, filed by a group of Latinos represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the law firm Covington & Burling, focused on the MCSO’s “saturation patrols”—some of which targeted day laborers specifically—in which deputies stopped vehicles for traffic violations with the purpose of detecting undocumented immigrants.

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