Appeals court dismisses Sheriff Joe Arpaio challenge of immigration order

Aug 14, 2015, 7:50 AM | Updated: 12:24 pm
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

The U.S. Court of Appeals has dismissed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s challenge of a federal order on immigration, saying Arpaio didn’t have legal backing in his objection.

In an opinion released Friday, the three-judge panel wrote, “We conclude that Sheriff Arpaio has failed to allege an injury that is both fairly traceable to the deferred action policies and redressable by enjoining them, as our standing precedents require.”

In plain speak, the court decided Arpaio’s claim that President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration would allow illegal immigrants to remain in Maricopa County to commit crime was too speculative.

“It’s not going on now, and you can’t trace these crimes to these policies,” KTAR legal analyst Monica Lindstrom said of the court’s thinking. “One doesn’t automatically link to the other.”

Larry Klayman, who is representing Arpaio, said the sheriff has a stronger case against Obama’s order than that filed in Texas because Arpaio’s office holds illegal immigrants in its jails.

“This is costing the taxpayers — the people of Maricopa County — extra money to house criminals that should be sent back to wherever they came from,” he said.

Klayman said Friday’s decision was politically motivated, as the judge was appointed by Obama. He plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“I’m confident this Supreme Court — which is largely conservative in nature — will agree with us, consolidate the two decisions and rule that Obama’s executive amnesty is unconstitutional,” he said.

Lindstrom disagreed, saying she feels it is “highly unlikely” the court agrees to hear the case.

In 2013, a federal court determined that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the MCSO had discriminated against Hispanics during traffic stops.

In April 2015, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling that racial discrimination went beyond the office’s noted immigration sweeps.

In a somewhat related matter, the Justice Department has been given the go-ahead to intercede in a discrimination lawsuit against the sheriff.

According to a Justice Department statement, “The department filed for intervention in Melendres (case) so that it may enforce the court’s injunction and any future remedies ordered by the court to address Sheriff Arpaio’s and MCSO’s alleged violations of the court’s orders.”

Lindstrom said the decision shows the Justice Department wants to ensure Arpaio follows court orders and any subsequent laws.

“This is very significant, because it shows the Dept. of Justice understands that it still needs to be involved, even though it settled its own lawsuit,” she said.

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Appeals court dismisses Sheriff Joe Arpaio challenge of immigration order