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  1. #1
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    May 2006

    Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Sues Obama Over Immigration Order

    A lawyer for controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio urged a federal court judge today to stop the president from "ramming" new immigration policies "down the throats of the American people."

    Larry Klayman, founder of the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, urged Washington, D.C. District Court Judge Beryl Howell to issue an injunction blocking Obama's executive actions, which Klayman called a "blanket amnesty."

    "The president does not have the right to take matters into his own hands and ram it down the throats of the American people because he thinks he's above the law," Klayman told reporters after a hearing on his motion that lasted more than an hour.

    Arpaio's legal move does not appear likely to succeed.

    Howell, a 2010 Obama appointee, seemed highly skeptical of Klayman's claim that "deferred action" is unconstitutional, pointing to what she called a "longstanding" practice of past administrations that have shielded immigrants from deportation.

    She also openly questioned whether Arpaio, the Maricopa County sheriff, has standing to sue, suggesting the federal courts are the wrong venue for the immigration debate.

    "Doesn't Congress have the power to step in?" Howell asked Klayman.

    Klayman argued for an emergency court order, citing the "irreparable harm" Arpaio's department suffers because the federal government refuses to deport immigrants. Some of them, he argued, are likely to commit crimes in Arpaio's jurisdiction, citing the sheriff's contention that 36 percent of the undocumented immigrants who have served time in Maricopa County jail are repeat offenders.

    "How is it that you can show any kind of irreparable harm, given it's taken you two years to file a challenge?" Howell asked Klayman, noting the DACA program for immigrants who came here illegally as children has been in effect since 2012.

    Howell said she would issue her written ruling "very shortly."

    Should Howell not issue an injunction, Klayman vowed to appeal immediately and said he's willing to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Klayman also told the judge in open court that Arpaio has been subject to bomb threats due to his public stance against illegal immigration and his recent vow to fight the president.

    "In my view, Sheriff Arpaio is an American hero," Klayman said after the hearing. "There are protests underway right now in front of the sheriff's office in Arizona that will result in more threats. Thank God he hasn't been hurt thus far."

  2. #2
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    May 2006
    Judge seems skeptical of challenge to Obama immigration plan

    by Sam Hanael, Associated Press

    Posted on December 22, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Updated today at 11:35 AM

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge on Monday appeared deeply skeptical of an Arizona sheriff's lawsuit seeking to halt President Barack Obama's plan to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation.

    U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell questioned whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio had legal standing to challenge the immigration program announced last month. She suggested the topic is better left for Congress and the Obama administration to sort out.

    In the first courtroom battle over Obama's plan, Arpaio's lawyer Larry Klayman said the president violated the Constitution by doing an end-run around Congress. He argued that the program would let more illegal immigrants enter the country and commit crimes, burdening law enforcement.

    "It's not policy, he's creating law and he cannot do that under the U.S. Constitution," Klayman said of Obama.

    But Justice Department lawyer Kathleen Hartnett said Arpaio's lawsuit seemed to be raising a "political dispute" rather than a legal claim the court could address. The Obama administration has called the case "speculative and unsubstantiated" and has urged the court to dismiss it.

    Howell at times seemed exasperated with Klayman, a longtime conservative activist who has filed hundreds of lawsuits against the federal government, including challenges to Obama's U.S. citizenship. When Klayman said his client has been threatened because of his tough views on Obama's immigration policy, Howell responded: "That just doesn't cut it for me."

    Howell also said it did not appear that Arpaio could show a "concrete" injury he has suffered from the new policy, especially since it will take months before the bulk of it actually goes into effect.

    "If Congress doesn't like it, doesn't Congress have the power to step in?" she asked.

    Howell said she would issue a ruling in the case soon.

    Arpaio has often clashed with the federal government over the enforcement of immigration laws and he has filed suit to stop new policies announced by Obama. He claims that more than 35 percent of immigrants living in Maricopa County illegally who wound up in Arpaio's jails in 2014 were repeat offenders, signifying in the sheriff's view that federal officials have done a poor job of deporting criminals.

    Obama's plan marks the most sweeping change to the nation's immigration policies in nearly three decades and set off a fierce fight with Republicans. The changes include work permits and three-year deportation stays for more than 4 million immigrants here illegally. It mostly applies to those who've been in the country more than five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

    Under the program, the Homeland Security Department would prioritize the removal of immigrants who present threats to national security, public safety or border security. DHS officials could deport someone if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office director determined that removing the person would serve an important federal interest.

    The White House has insisted that Obama is acting under proper legal authority to enforce the nation's immigration laws.

    Associated Press writers Pete Yost and Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report.

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  3. #3
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    May 2006

    Judge takes dim view of Arpaio lawsuit over Obama amnesty

    Does label policy ‘amnesty’ from deportation

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2014

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lawsuit challenging President Obama's new amnesty appeared to hit snags Monday as a federal judge told the sheriff's lawyers they will have trouble showing he is being harmed by the policy, and questioned why courts should get involved in a "legislative-executive branch squabble."

    Judge Beryl A. Howell, an Obama appointee to the federal district court in Washington, D.C., labeled Mr. Obama's policy an amnesty, but repeatedly hinted that it's a fight that should be settled between Congress and the White House rather than asking the federal courts to referee.

    "If Congress doesn't like it, doesn't Congress have the power to step in?" she said, pointing to lawmakers' power of the purse — the avenue many congressional Republicans would like to take early next year in pushing back against Mr. Obama's policy.

    The judge heard oral arguments Monday morning but did not issue a ruling, instead promising a written opinion "very shortly."

    Mr. Obama's plan would shield most illegal immigrants from being deported and would grant proactive three-year legal status and work permits to up to 5 million of them, in addition to offering more visas for high-tech workers and speeding up legal immigration.

    Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, filed a lawsuit minutes after Mr. Obama's Nov. 20 announcement of his policy, arguing it put an unfair burden on him and seeking to have it overturned. The state of Texas has since filed another challenge, joined by about two dozen other states arguing much the same.

    Sheriff Arpaio wasn't present in court Monday, leaving the defense to his lawyer, Larry Klayman, who said the sheriff's department will have to spend more money on policing and holding illegal immigrants who commit crimes thanks to the president's policy. Mr. Klayman also said the sheriff and his department have faced bomb threats over his stance on immigration.

    The sheriff must show harm for him to be able to challenge the policy — otherwise the courts are supposed to throw the case out for lack of "standing" to sue.

    Judge Howell seemed to question whether Mr. Obama's policies were linked to either of Sheriff Arpaio's claims, saying that the sheriff's own stances on immigration are already well known, and saying that whether illegal immigrants commit more crimes likely depends on the illegal immigrants, not on the president's policy.

    "You've got a big standing problem," she told Mr. Klayman.

    Mr. Klayman urged the judge to act anyway, saying the case touches on issues of grand constitutional import. He predicted it will eventually end up at the Supreme Court, and challenged Judge Howell to become famous by making history with her ruling. She laughed that off.

    "In this room, I think you are the most famous person, Mr. Klayman," she said.

    Hispanic rights groups mocked Sheriff Arpaio's lawsuit, calling it unfair and an attack on Latinos.

    "Today's hearing marks another unjust, politically charged attempt to take away opportunities for many young Latinos and their families to fully contribute to society," said Cristobal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project.

    Judge Howell balked when the administration said Mr. Obama's program wasn't an amnesty but rather a "temporary deferral of deportation" that they said could be rescinded at any time.

    "They're given an amnesty from being deported," the judge countered.

    For his part, Mr. Klayman tried to point the judge to last week's ruling by another federal judge, Arthur J. Schwab in Pennsylvania, who, in a case involving a man facing deportation, ruled that the new amnesty was unconstitutional.

    Judge Howell, though, called that ruling "puzzling," saying she thought Judge Schwab, a Bush appointee, had gone beyond the facts in the case in front of him in order to rule against the policy.

    "I don't find it persuasive at all," she said, flatly rejecting it having any bearing on her own eventual ruling.

    She also appeared to accept the administration's defense that previous presidents have granted similar proactive amnesties from deportation and work permits, albeit on a smaller scale, and said none of those had been challenged by Capitol Hill as an overreach.

    "Congress has in fact sanctioned deferred removal," she said.

    Mr. Klayman urged her to act anyway.

    "It doesn't matter what Bush did in the past, or Clinton. It's not right; it's not legal," he told her.
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