Arpaio Strikes Out in Fight Over Deportation

     (CN) – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio lacks standing to sue over the Obama administration’s expansion of deferred-deportation programs because he can’t show that they will cause a spike in crime, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
     Last year, the president proposed short-term relief for about 4.7 million immigrants who can prove they have been here for five years or more with a clean record – with other restrictions.
     Arpaio, whose neighborhood raids and arrests of immigrants have brought hundreds of lawsuits against him plus a federal investigation and rebuke from a judge, claims that Obama’s proposals are an unconstitutional abuse of presidential power.
     The sheriff’s lawsuit challenged not only Obama’s newest proposal, but also 2012’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
     Maricopa County includes the city of Phoenix.
     “Even where Congress has granted authority to the executive branch, these programs are ultra vires, exceeding the bounds of delegated authority,” Arpaio’s lawsuit claimed . “While defendant Obama hijacks the language of previous immigration regulation and law, defendant Obama fundamentally transforms the definition of key terms to create a radically new and different regime of immigration law and regulation.”
     But Arpaio could not convince the D.C. Circuit that the policies will encourage more illegal immigrants to cross the border from Mexico into the United States to ostensibly commit more crimes.
     “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,” Circuit Judge Nina Pillard wrote for the three-judge panel. “His allegations that the policies will cause more crime in Maricopa County are unduly speculative. Projected increases he anticipates in the county’s policing burden and jail population rest on chains of supposition and contradict acknowledged realities.”
     She said Arpaio’s alleged harm was based on a “magnet theory” that Obama’s policies will cause more non-citizens to cross the border where they will be less likely to be deported.
     “Even if it were plausibly alleged (and it is not) that the challenged policies would mean more undocumented aliens remain in the county, the reduced-removals theory also depends on unsupported speculation that these policies, expressly confined to individuals who do not pose threats to public safety, will increase the number of crimes in Maricopa County above what could reasonably be anticipated in the absence of any such policies,” the 37-page opinion continued.
     Pillard, an Obama appointee, was joined in the opinion by fellow Obama appointee Sri Srinivasan.
     George W. Bush appointee Janice Brown concurred, but wrote a separate opinion to spotlight “the consequences of our modern obsession with a myopic and constrained notion of standing.”
     Noting that “Sheriff Arpaio’s concerns are no doubt sincere,” she agreed with her colleagues that the link between Obama’s immigration policies and the crimes committed by illegal immigrants “is too attenuated and susceptible to intervening factors.”
     However, Brown added that the court’s narrow interpretation of standing has fostered a “lawyer’s game” where sophisticated litigants can produce the type of proof needed to survive dismissal, but less sophisticated plaintiffs may be left in the cold.
     “Our approach to standing, I fear, too often stifles constitutional challenges, ultimately elevating the courts’ convenience over constitutional efficacy and the needs of our citizenry,” Brown concluded.

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