Federal court nixes Sheriff Arpaio's bid to stop Obama immigration plan

Friday's ruling ends the Arizona sheriff's latest challenge to President Obama's executive actions involving immigration, but another challenge, backed by 26 states, remains.

Ross D. Franklin/AP/File
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pauses prior to holding a news conference after federal authorities announced that the sheriff has negotiated in bad faith and risks ending settlement talks, in Phoenix, April 3, 2012.

A federal appeals court ruled that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio does not have the legal standing to bring claims against President Obama's executive actions on immigration because he couldn’t demonstrate he was being directly harmed by the administration’s policies.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's decision put an end to Mr. Arpaio's latest challenge the administration’s immigration policy.

“For years, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made himself an icon far beyond the sprawling landscape of Arizona's Maricopa County through his crusade against illegal immigration,” The Christian Science Monitor reported last year, shortly after Arpaio was ordered to dismantle a unit that focused on arresting immigrants who rely on counterfeit IDs to work.

“But the hallmarks of his power are diminishing, as a federal court case and the policies of Obama administration both to shield millions of undocumented immigrants and to target Sheriff Arpaio's operations directly take their toll,” Monitor correspondent Lourdes Medrano reported.

In April, Arpaio admitted to civil contempt charges for failing to comply with court orders that mandated that his forces stop racially profiling immigrants.

Most recently, Arpaio claimed his office had been injured by Obama's November 2014 orders that aim to alleviate the threat of deportation for around 4.7 million undocumented immigrants.

“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,” the court’s three-judge panel wrote in an opinion released Friday. “His allegations that the policies will cause more crime in Maricopa County are unduly speculative.”

But although Arpaio’s complaints appear to have been quelled for the moment, Obama will face a bigger challenge in Texas, where 26 states are also currently challenging the president’s immigration policy.

Posing a more realistic challenge than that of Arpaio, the case led by Republican bastion Texas will be heard by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2016, and could ultimately end up in front of the Supreme Court.

This report includes material from Reuters.

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