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].