Defending roundups all around the Valley
Arizona Republic
Apr. 27, 2005


If you follow the Maricopa County attorney's logic in not charging the man who held seven undocumented immigrants at gunpoint, people all over the Valley should be detaining Spanish-speaking men.

That's why Rep. Ben Miranda, D-Phoenix, this week asked the state attorney general or the U.S. attorney to file charges against Patrick Haab, who held immigrants at a rest stop near Gila Bend.

"Everyone at every Home Depot in Phoenix is subject to the citizen's arrest," Miranda said after a news conference at the state Capitol. Anyone who detains immigrants will "hold up (Thomas') decision to justify it."

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Haab was right to make a citizen's arrest because the group was committing a felony. One of them was smuggling, a federal offense, and the rest agreed to be smuggled, which Thomas said constituted conspiracy.

Thomas said Haab was "lucky" that one of the involved was a smuggler. As if luck were defined in a legal dictionary.

Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, crossed party lines to speak alongside Miranda. He also worried about people copying Haab's actions.

"It would be good for the county attorney to restate his position," Konopnicki said.

Because right now, Thomas's current position could be summed up in one of those late-night TV commercials.

"Have you been arrested for holding undocumented immigrants at gunpoint? I'm Andrew Thomas, and I'll provide an aggressive defense for no money down."

Reach Ruelas at (602) 444-8473 or