Until Arizona authorities temporarily stopped the practice with a legal maneuver, people across the U.S. were sending more than $91,000 monthly via a Western Union outlet in a border town to pay smugglers to sneak illegal immigrants into the country, says the Washington Post. Transfers of $500 or more into Arizona fell $36.8 million a month to just $2.8 million after the state took legal action. Yet immigrant smuggling was still booming.
Now a judge has ruled in favor of Western Union and allowed the money to keep flowing. The legal battle is one of more than 10 state and federal cases in Arizona over how to police illegal immigration. The cases underscore pitfalls faced by local law enforcement as it intensifies its fight against immigrant smuggling and undocumented workers. Tactics prosecutors believe are a godsend in the crackdown are often, in the words of one federal law enforcement official, “either brilliant or illegal.” Arizona is using new, sometimes controversial ideas to confront illegal immigration because, as Attorney General Terry Goddard said, “we have it rubbed in our face on a daily basis.”