Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's Late, But It Finally Arrived

Here's the Arizona ADL statement (issued August 3; I first saw it on August 7) on the Haab case. "Sends Wrong Message?" I'd have used "Is Wrong," but at last the local ADL is on the right side of this issue. I would argue that they used a flawed procedural process--the chief deputy to the County Attorney is a local board member, and they let him participate in the decision-making process despite his huge conflict of interest--and that led them to reach a bad substantive decision, but it's a bad decision that they (unlike Andrew Thomas) reconsidered and corrected.


Phoenix, AZ, August 3, 2005…The Arizona Office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed disappointment with the refusal of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas to reconsider his decision not to prosecute Patrick Haab.

Before making any public statement about the case, ADL had sought a meeting with Thomas in order to raise the League’s serious concerns over the decision not to prosecute Patrick Haab for holding seven illegal immigrants at gunpoint. At a meeting with members of Thomas’ staff, ADL representatives both questioned the legal basis for the County Attorney’s action and stressed the dangerous message that such action had already sent to potentially violent, anti-immigration activists and vigilantes.

Following the meeting, Bill Straus, Arizona Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League stated:

“We are disappointed that the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office showed so little empathy for our concerns. The Haab decision sets a dangerous precedent and could set the stage for increasing anti-Hispanic violence and civil rights violations. We are already seeing dozens of references to Haab on the websites of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. The thought of armed individuals using the Haab decision as an excuse to draw down on anyone who, in their opinion, looks like an undocumented immigrant, is frightening, to say the least."

ADL has expressed alarm at the involvement of extremists and white supremacists in the anti-illegal immigration issue for several years, dating back to its 2003 report, Border Disputes: Armed Vigilantes in Arizona.

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