ACLU of Arizona offers Compensation Fund Programs throughout the year




JOSE CARDENAS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "HORIZONTE." ATTORNEYS HELP FILE COMPENSATION CLAIMS IF THEY WERE UNLAWFULLY STOPPED AND DETAINED BY MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICERS. FIND OUT WHERE YOU CAN GO TO CELEBRATE THE CULTURE AND INDEPENANCE OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND WE WILL GET TO KNOW THE NEW DIRECTOR FOR THE SCHOOL OF BALLET ARIZONA. ALL THIS COMING UP NEXT ON "HORIZONTE."

VIDEO: HORIZONTE IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US I’M JOSE CARDENAS. IN 2016 THE MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE WAS FOUND GUILTY OF VIOLATING A FEDERAL COURT ORDER PROHIBITING THEM FROM STOPPING PEOPLE ON THE BASIS OF THEIR RACE OR IMMIGRATION STATUS. PEOPLE WHO WERE STOPPED OR HELD BY M-C-S-O DURING A SPECIFIC TIME PERIOD MAY NOW APPLY TO PARTICIPATE A COURT ORDERED COMPENSATION PROGRAM. THE PROGRAM WAS STARTED IN DECEMBER AND WILL ACCEPT APPLICATIONS FOR THE YEAR. ATTORNEYS WILL HOLD A CLINIC TO HELP PEOPLE FILE APPLICATIONS. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS IS BRENDA MUNOZ, AN ATTORNEY FROM ACLU ARIZONA. BRENDA WELCOME TO HORIZONTE. I GUESS THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO GET OUT RIGHT AWAY IS THAT THE CLINIC IS COMING UP WHEN? ON FEBRUARY 24TH?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: FEBRUARY 24TH THIS SATURDAY. THE ACLU OF ARIZONA, LOS ABOGADOS. WHICH IS ARIZONA'S HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION, AND PUENTE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT ARE HOSTING A CLINIC WHERE PEOPLE CAN COME AND GET HELP FILLING OUT THEIR APPLICATIONS. –

JOSE CARDENAS: AND WHERE BASICALLY WILL IT BE HELD?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: IT WILL BE AT PUENTE. THEIR LOCATION IS 1937 WEST ADAM STREET.

JOSE CARDENAS: HOW ARE YOU GETTING THE WORD OUT? HOW HAVE YOU BEEN GETTING THE WORD OUT CAUSE THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN IN EFFECT SINCE DECEMBER OF LAST YEAR?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: SINCE DECEMBER OF 2017. IT HAS BEEN ON FOR A COUPLE MONTHS AT THIS POINT. THE ACLU OF ARIZONA LOS ABPGADOS AND PUENTE. WE HAVE BEEN ADVERTISING THIS HEAVILY, BOTH ON SOCIAL MEDIA, RADIO, AND REALLY HANDING OUT FLIERS. JUST GETTING THE WORD OUT ANY WAY THAT WE CAN.

JOSE CARDENAS: IN SPANISH AND ENGLISH?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: YES.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND AS I UNDERSTAND IT THERE IS A HOTLINE WHERE PEOPLE CAN GET INFORMATION ASS WELL?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: YES, IF PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CLINIC THAT IS HAPPENING ON SATURDAY THEY CAN CALL THE ACLU OF ARIZONA AT 602-773-6022.

JOSE CARDENAS: WE ALSO HAVE THAT INFORMATION ON THE SCREEN. SO IS THE ONLY WAY TO DO THIS PAPERFORMS IS THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE CLINIC OR OTHER LOCATIONS THEY CAN GO TO DO THIS?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE TO COME TO OUR CLINIC TO FILE AN APPLICATION. ATTORNEYS AND OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL BE ON-HAND TO HELP PEOPLE IF THEY DO NEED IT. BUT PEOPLE CAN GO ONLINE AND GET AN APPLICATION AND FILL THAT OUT DIRECTLY ON THEIR COMPUTER OR THEY CAN PRINT IT OUT AND MAIL IT IN. ALL THAT INFORMATION IS ON THE PROGRAM'S WEBSITE.

JOSE CARDENAS: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE CRITERIA FOR GETTING AN AWARD WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO SHOW?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH SO PEOPLE HAVE TO SHOW THAT THEY WERE STOPPED BY THE MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFFS''S OFFICE IN VIOLATION OF THE COURT ORDER AND THERE ARE SPECIFIC ASSOCIATED WITH THAT ORDE. THOSE DATES ARE DECEMBER 2011-MAY 24TH, 2013. IF THEY WERE STOPPED WITHIN THOSE DATES THEN THEY COULD QUALIFY. ALSO PEOPLE HAVE TO HAVE BEEN STOPPED AND DETAINED SO SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF HAVING THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS INVESTIGATED.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND HOW WOULD THEY GO ABOUT PROVING THAT? ARE THERE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ON THE APPLICATION FORM THAT WOULD GUIDE THEM THROUGH THAT PROCESS?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: YES. THE APPLICATION FORM IS VERY SPECIFIC. THEY HAVE TO SHOW THEY WERE DETAINED BY M-C-S-O FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES AND THERE IS NO LIMITS AS TO THE TYPE OF EVIDENCE THEY CAN PRODUCE WITH THEIR APPLICATION, BUT PEOPLE ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE AS MUCH DOCUMENTATION AS THEY CAN WITH THEIR APPLICATION. IF THEY HAVE ANY DOCUMENTS FROM THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE THEY SHOULD PROVIDE THAT. IF THEY HAVE ANY DOCUMENTATION FROM ICE OR BORDER PATROL THEY SHOULD PROVIDE THAT.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO WHAT WOULD BE THE KIND OF DOCUMENTATION THAT WOULD SHOW THEY HAVE BEEN DETAINED FOR THE MINIMUM 20 MINUTES?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: IF THEY HAD A CITATION THAN THEY CAN PROVIDE THAT. THAT SHOULD HAVE A TIME WHEN THEY WERE STOPPED. IF THEY HAD IMMIGRATION PAPERS.

JOSE CARDENAS: THAT WOULD HAVE THE TIME WHEN THEY WERE INITIALLY STOPPED. HOW WOULD IT SHOW HOW LONG THEY WERE STOPPED FOR?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: IF FOR INSTANCE, IF THEY WERE ULTIMATELY TURNED OVER TO IMMIGRATION THAN THOSE DOCUMENTS SHOULD SHOW THE TIME THEY WERE THAN TURNED OVER.

JOSE CARDENAS: IF THEY WERE JUST STOPPED HOW DO THEY PROVE THE NEXT STEP WHICH IT IS WAS FOR AN UNLAWFUL PURPOSE?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: IF THE DEPUTY WHO STOPPED THEM ASKED THEM QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR BACKGROUND. FOR INSTANCE, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS COUNTRY? DO YOU HAVE A VALID DRIVERS LICENSE? DO YOU HAVE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER? THOSE QUESTIONS. AND ALL OF THOSE QUESTIONS ARE ON THE APPLICATION FORM.

JOSE CARDENAS: THEY JUST CHECK BOXES?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: MM-HMM.

JOSE CARDENAS: IS THERE ANY VERIFICATION THAT’S DONE. SO I GET THIS FORM AND FILL IT OUT, I WAS STOPPED ON THIS DATE AND MY RECOLLECTION WAS MORE THAN 20 MINUTES OR IT WAS AN HOUR OR WHATEVER. THESE QUESTIONS WERE ASKED AND WHAT THEN HAPPENS WITH THAT INFORMATION? IS THERE ANY VERIFICATION PROCESS?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: THERE IS. THE COUNTY HIRED A NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY FIRM TO EVALUATE THE CLAIMS AND MAKE THE FINAL DETERMINATION. SO THAT FIRM HAS A JOB OF DOING THAT. AND THEN THEY WILL MAKE THE FINAL DECISION. AND ALL OF THE INFORMATION THAT IS PROVIDED IN THIS CLAIMS PROCESS IS TO REMAIN CONFIDANTIAL AND THAT IS PURSUANT TO COURT ORDER.

JOSE CARDENAS: THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT CAN BE RECOVERED ARE WHAT?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: PEOPLE CAN GET UP TO $10,000 FOR THE TIME THEY WERE DETAINED BOTH BY MCSO AND BY IMMIGRATION. IN ADDITION TO THAT, PEOPLE CAN MAKE CLAIMS FOR ANY OTHER INJURIES THEY MAY HAVE HAD RESULTING FROM AN UNLAWFUL STOP OR DETENTION. THIS COULD BE MEDICAL COSTS EXPENSES FOR PHYSICAL INJURIES THAT THEY MAY HAVE SUFFERED OR ANY LOST WAGES FOR EMPLOYMENT THAT THEY MAY HAVE LOST. LOSS OF HOUSING, LOSS OF PROPERTY.

JOSE CARDENAS: IS THAT ALL SUBJECT TO THE $10,000 CAP?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: NO.

JOSE CARDENAS: WHAT WOULD GET SOMEBODY $10,000 WITHOUT SHOWING THOSE OTHER KINDS OF DAMAGES?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: IF SOMEBODY FOR INSTANCE WAS IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME THEORETICALLY THEY COULD GET THAT CASH.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND IT’S A MINIMUM 500 DOLLARS IF THEY MEET THAT 20-MINUTE THRESHOLD.

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: YES

JOSE CARDENAS: SO GOING FORWARD WE HAVE THE CLINIC SATURDAY AND I ASSUME THERE WILL BE OTHER CLINICS OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR CAUSE THIS RUNS THROUGH DECEMBER, RIGHT?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: YES AND THAT IS THE PLAN WE ARE GOING TO HOLD A SERIES OF THESE CLINICS THROUGHOUT THE END OF THE YEAR.

JOSE CARDENAS: ONE LAST THING. YOU ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS?

BRENDA MUNOZ FURNISH: YES, WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS BOTH ATTORNEYS AND NON-ATTORNEYS TO COME HELP OUT AT OUR CLINICS BOTH THE ONE THAT IS SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY AND IN THE FUTURE.

JOSE CARDENAS: SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT PROGRAM. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR EFFORTS HERE AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE." TO TALK ABOUT IT. COMING UP NEXT, FIND OUT WHERE YOU CAN GO TO CELEBRATE THE CULTURE OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND RAISE MONEY FOR SOME GOOD CAUSES.

The ACLU of Arizona and Los Abogados offers a Compensation Fund Program to help individuals who were stopped by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office for the purpose of having their immigration status checked.

The program has been in effect since December and has relied on social media, radio, fliers and word of mouth to spread the message of this program. It was run mainly by volunteers, both attorney and non-attorney volunteers. Individuals can meet them in person for extra assistance on filling out an application or do it online.

Brenda Muñoz Furnish, an attorney with the ACLU of Arizona, describes the criteria one has to meet to fill out an application. They have to show they have been stopped by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s officer in violation of the court order. The stop had to have been within the time frame of Dec. 23, 2011 and May 24, 2013. As mentioned before, it also applies to those who have been stopped and detained based on having their immigration status checked.

The application form is very specific, Furnish says. It asks for as many details as possible. The individual had to have been detailed for at least 20 minutes, and there is no limit to the kind of evidence they can produce. Many documents will have time stamps on them to show the time frame of the incident.

“There is a verification process,” Furnish says. “The County hired a neutral third party firm to evaluate these claims and make the final determination.”

People can get a maximum of $10,000 for the time they were detained, or the minimum which is $500. They can make claims for any injuries they could have received from an unlawful stop like medical expenses, lost wages, loss of housing and loss of property.

The ACLU of Arizona and Los Abogados will be hosting a series of these free clinics throughout the year. If you are interested in volunteering or attending a session, call the ACLU of Arizona at 602-773-6022. For more information, contact Furnish at [email protected].

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In this segment:

Brenda Muñoz Furnish: Attorney, ACLU of Arizona

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