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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Police panel trying to oust activist over immigrant-smuggling

Police panel trying to oust activist over immigrant-smuggling


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Police panel trying to oust activist over immigrant-smuggling



Lizabeth Ramon de Harvey

Yvonne Wingett
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 17, 2004 02:35 PM


A panel that advises the Phoenix police department on Hispanic policies will remove a well-known Latina activist off the board over her guilty plea to helping smuggle a pair of Mexican brothers across the border.

The Hispanic Advisory Board voted to persuade Lizabeth Ramon de Harvey to resign her membership of the volunteer board after she pleaded guilty in April to aiding and abetting illegal entry. She reportedly declined, and board members say they'd seek to terminate her.

Ramon de Harvey, the girlfriend of Assistant Phoenix Police Chief Silverio Ontiveros, was not available for comment on Wednesday.

"She admitted to breaking U.S. and federal laws," said Raúl Sánchez Monreal Jr., the chair and longtime member of the board. "We do feel very strongly that if we're going to hold the police department to abide and follow the law, that we cannot in good standing keep a member who's not in good standing."

Upset over a March 28 incident in which juveniles and young adults were sent back to Mexico because they could not prove they were living here legally, Ramon de Harvey tried to bring two back. She was caught April 15 trying to smuggle them across the border in the trunk of her car, officials have said. Under a plea agreement, she avoided jail time, fines and community service.

Phoenix police, meanwhile, has launched an internal investigation to determine what, if any, role Ontiveros might have had in the incident.

Some board members said her actions could undermine efforts of the board and reflect it in a bad light. The 16-member panel advises Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris and police departments on policies affecting the Latino community.

"We just felt that we have different set of standards on the advisory board," said Julian Claudio Nabozny, the board's co-chair. "One of the standards . . . is that we do not want members to have a record."

Sánchez Monreal said he delivered the news to Ramon de Harvey on Wednesday following the e-mail vote by a majority of the board members to have her resign.

"I wanted to give Liza time to reflect what she did, and the impact she had on the committee by what she did," said Sánchez Monreal, director of South Mountain Community College Guadalupe Center. "Liza decided not to resign. I'm sending her a certified letter telling her we are terminating her.

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