Judicial Watch Statement on Phoenix Mayor's Reversal of Illegal Immigration Policies in Response to Judicial Watch Investigation

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - December 4, 2007) - Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today in response to Phoenix, Arizona Mayor Phil Gordon's plan to reverse on the city's Operations Order 1.4, which prohibits police officers from inquiring about the immigration status of individuals and from cooperating with federal immigration officials. Facing a Judicial Watch investigation and a potential lawsuit, the mayor announced on Monday, December 3, that he no longer supports the policy. The mayor also announced the formation of an illegal immigration expert panel to study the policy and to recommend changes.

"There is no question Judicial Watch's investigation and the threat of a lawsuit prompted Mayor Gordon's sudden change of heart on illegal immigration enforcement. The mayor's sanctuary policies have severely damaged business owners and taxpayers, including the owners of Pruitt's Furniture, who are leaders in the Phoenix business community. We are pleased the mayor has finally come to grips with his administration's failure to adequately address the illegal immigration crisis. And we support the mayor's public calls for radical change in the way the Phoenix Police Department enforces federal immigration law.

"With respect to the mayor's 'expert' panel, however, we hope that it takes advantage of local expertise on the issue, most notably Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew P. Thomas. Arpaio and Thomas have valuable immigration enforcement experience in the area surrounding Phoenix and interact with the Phoenix Police Department on a daily basis.

"Judicial Watch hopes the expert panel seeks the input of citizen taxpayers and businesses damaged by the City's sanctuary policies. Judicial Watch looks forward to working with Mayor Gordon's commission to ensure that any new policies comply with federal immigration law. However, if the commission's work results in police immigration policies at odds with federal law, a Judicial Watch lawsuit would still be on the table."

For the past four months, Judicial Watch has worked with business, (organized as the 36th and Thomas Business Coalition), community and law enforcement leaders to bring about a change in Phoenix's status as an illegal alien "sanctuary city." Judicial Watch's has conducted a comprehensive investigative and public education campaign concerning the City of Phoenix's immigration enforcement policies. Our investigative team, led by Chris Farrell interviewed dozens of people, filed numerous public records act requests, and analyzed public documents.

For more information on Judicial Watch's investigation, and Judicial Watch's nationwide legal campaign against illegal information, visit www.judicialwatch.org.

Contact Information: Contact: Jill Farrell 202-646-5188