AZ Human-Smuggling Law Challenged in Court

The statute criminalizes efforts to make a better life


Before leading the way for other states to pursue immigration laws, Arizona passed a ban on human smuggling in 2005 that has led to more than 2,100 arrests and drawn criticism for a tactic in which people who pay to be sneaked into the country are charged as conspirators to the crime.

Seventy-five percent of the people charged under the smuggling law in the state's largest county since 2008 have been charged with conspiring to sneak themselves into the country, drawing complaints from immigrant rights advocates that the statute was intended for often-violent smugglers, not their customers.