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Order sought to bar certain ID theft prosecutions in Arizona

PHOENIX -- Immigrant rights advocates challenging business raids by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have asked a judge to bar officials from charging people with identity theft if they're accused of using fake or stolen IDs to get jobs.

Lawyers who filed a lawsuit over employment-related identity theft cases by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office and other law enforcement agencies argue in court papers filed Thursday that the state laws on the matter are trumped by federal law.

Arpaio aide Jack MacIntyre said the laws are valid and meant to battle the problem of identity theft.

``It appears that they just don't like this kind of enforcement,'' MacIntyre said.

The County attorney's office, which prosecutes the ID theft cases and is one of the targets of the lawsuit, declined to comment.

Those who filed the lawsuit aren't seeking money, but they want a judge to conclude that a state law banning employers from hiring immigrants living in the U.S. illegally is discriminatory and conflicts with federal law.

Supporters of the raids say the law has helped combat identity theft and that the fear of raids has caused employers to follow the rules. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the law after business groups challenged it several years ago.

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