Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed the first lawsuit late Thursday seeking to halt President Obama’s new executive action on immigration, saying he has abused his presidential powers and ignored the Constitution and the will of Congress.
“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,” Sheriff Arpaio said in the lawsuit, which was filed minutes after Mr. Obama announced his plans to the nation.
Sheriff Arpaio challenged both the president’s 2012 policy granting temporary amnesty from deportation to so-called Dreamers, and Mr. Obama’s newest policy creating a temporary amnesty for millions of illegal immigrant parents. Mr. Arpaio labeled that an “Executive Order Amnesty,” or EOA, in his lawsuit.
The White House has said Mr. Obama is acting within his “discretion” as chief executive to decide whom to target for deportation. They said the Justice Department has reviewed the actions and cleared them as constitutional.
Democrats also point to moves by previous presidents, including Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush to carry out the 1986 amnesty.
But Sheriff Arpaio, who has regularly battled this administration over immigration, said Mr. Obama’s latest moves “operate on a ‘wholesale’ level upon broad categories rather than ‘retail’ as an individual adjudication of persons one at a time.”
Even if the courts deem the moves constitutional, Sheriff Arpaio argued they are still illegal under federal laws that require an extensive rule-making process when the administration acts to carry out laws.
The sheriff said he has standing to sue because the actions have “adversely affected” his office financially, and interfered with how he runs his office.
“Thus, the Office of the Sheriff has been directly harmed and impacted adversely by Obama’s DACA program and will be similarly harmed by his new Executive Order effectively granting amnesty to illegal aliens,” the sheriff said in his lawsuit.