Two illegal immigrants accused of stealing a truck and robbing a man at a park told police that the state’s employer sanctions law and other illegal immigration crackdowns forced them to commit the crimes.
The men were arrested Sept. 13 in Phoenix and indicted on charges of armed robbery, theft and aggravated assault, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced Wednesday.
Ruben Aragon Parra, 18, and Salvador Antonio Monreal-Camargo, 24, are accused of stealing a truck on Sept. 13 and later robbing a man at a Phoenix park, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokesman Mike Scerbo said.
The man robbed in the park chased the suspects in his own car. The victim then grabbed a shovel and beat the windshield of the stolen truck, Scerbo said.
Phoenix police declined to comment on the case or provide additional details.
One suspect said he lost his job as a landscaper because of the employer sanctions law that takes effect Jan. 1. Under the law, employers who knowingly or intentionally hire illegal immigrants can lose their business licenses.
The other suspect in the theft and robbery told police he’s been deported from the United States three times, Scerbo said.
The two suspects are not eligible for bail because of Proposition 100, Scerbo said. That proposition, which voters approved in November, makes illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes ineligible for bail.
The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that denying bail to illegal immigrants charged with certain felonies does not violate their constitutional rights. The proposition would help ensure that illegal immigrants show up in court, according to Judge Donn Kessler, who wrote the unanimous court decision.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the County Attorney’s Office signed an agreement in September to join forces in investigating possible violations of the employer sanctions law when it takes effect.
Under the agreement, sheriff’s deputies will investigate complaints and county prosecturos will then analyze cases and evidence to determine whether employer business licenses should be revoked or suspended.
Officials did not give details about enforcement techniques or strategies.
“Honest business owners who play by the rules and make an innocent mistake have nothing to fear from us,” Thomas said in a prepared statement.