Landscape worker Sergio Martinez-Villaman, 32, had identification in spades. A H-2B work visa. A Mexican passport. Even an Arizona identification card issued by the DMV. But a sheriff’s detective in Maricopa County, Ariz., arrested him anyway for lack of identification or driver’s license following a June 27 traffic stop, the Arizona Republic reported:
The afternoon Martinez-Villaman was stopped, he had just gone home to get his visa and his passport so that the documents could be renewed by his employer, Moon Valley Nursery in Mesa. The documents were set to expire three days later.
Martinez-Villaman wound up spending 13 days in jail and losing his car. His attorney, who plans to file a civil rights lawsuit, said he should have been cited for driving without a license and released. The sheriff’s spokesman, meanwhile, said the arrest was proper, and is not unusual for the offense of driving without a license.
The newspaper reported that Martinez-Villaman isn’t the only one accusing authorities of overzealous, if not outright improper, enforcement against Latino immigrants.