Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is suing President Obama over his plans to grant temporary legal status and work permits to up to 5 million illegal immigrants in the country, saying the actions from the president will have a detrimental effect on his ability to carry out his job.
“Specifically, it will severely strain our resources, both in manpower and financially, necessary to protect the citizens I was elected to serve,” Sheriff Arpaio said in a statement.
Among the many negative effects of the action, he said, “will be the increased release of criminal aliens back onto streets of Maricopa County, Arizona, and the rest of the nation.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that both Mr. Obama’s actions outlined Thursday evening and his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are “unconstitutional abuses” of the president because “instead of legislation first passing both houses of Congress and then being sent to the president under the ‘Presentment Clause’ for signature and implementation or veto, the president originates legislation by himself and then dares the Congress to disagree.”
The White House has consistently said Mr. Obama is acting within his constitutional authority. In a speech Thursday outlining his actions, Mr. Obama said deportations of criminals are up 80 percent over the last six years, and that the government will keep focusing resources on threats to security.
“If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law,” the president said. “If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.”
The controversial Sheriff Arpaio is currently embroiled in a racial profiling case brought against him over allegations that a former sheriff’s deputy was shaking down illegal immigrants.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow warned Thursday that he would get a court-appointed official to examine allegations of wrongdoing by officers if the agency doesn’t adequately investigate.
More than a year ago, Judge Snow ruled Sheriff Arpaio’s office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in its regular traffic and immigration patrols.
Sheriff Arpaio denies that his officers have racially profiled people and has appealed the decision. The judge is requiring Sheriff Arpaio’s office to video-record traffic stops, collect data on stops and conduct additional training to ensure officers aren’t making unconstitutional stops.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.