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Sheriff Joe Arpaio today is asking a federal judge to suspend President Obama’s executive action until a court ruling can be issued on the constitutionality of the action. In other words, it’s three days before Christmas, and Arpaio is petitioning a federal court for the resumption of deportations that separate families.
Back in Arizona, of course, it’s Arpaio himself who is in serious trouble with the law, as he is currently in danger of being in contempt of court (for not cooperating with a different federal judge after Arpaio and his department were found guilty of racial profiling practices).
Also, after a long legal battle with Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer, Arizona DREAMers are finally able to apply and test for driver’s licenses today. It’s pre-dawn in Arizona right now, and DREAMers are already lining up outside DMVs:
— Gabe Ortíz (@TUSK81) December 22, 2014
98 people in line already as MVD office gets ready to open on the first day dreamers can get licenses. pic.twitter.com/ryniWUnMnx
— Anne Ryman (@anneryman) December 22, 2014
Yup: Arpaio is petitioning a court to deport families while young immigrants are lining up to get their papers and get mobile in pursuit of the American Dream.
2:53 PM EDIT: According to the National Law Journal, Arpaio and his lawyer faced some tough questions today. The federal judge was skeptical of the merits of his case, said Arpaio had a “big” standing issue to overcome, and had many fewer questions for the counsel for the government than she did for Arpaio’s lawyer. Arpaio’s lawyer also tried to claim that executive action is illegal regardless of similar actions that previous presidents have taken. More from the Journal:
The judge expressed skepticism that the challenger, Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, had standing to sue—let alone that he could convince her to strike down the president’s actions.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell didn’t confine her concern to Arpaio’s case. The judge said a recent ruling in Pittsburgh—a judge there declared Obama’s immigration actions unconstitutional—was “a puzzle.” Howell said she didn’t understand how U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab could reach the constitutional questions in a criminal case without first finding that the defendant was eligible for the programs Obama announced…
Howell spent most of the morning questioning Arpaio’s lawyer, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch. Howell asked how Arpaio could prove he was harmed by the president’s actions if they hadn’t taken effect yet. She also said Arpaio had a “big” standing issue to overcome because the injuries he claimed—a drain on resources from criminals returning to jail because they weren’t being deported, for example—depended, at least in part, on the actions of undocumented immigrants, who were outside third parties…
Howell asked Klayman to respond to the fact that the executive branch for decades had adopted programs deferring deportation for certain undocumented immigrants, with Congress’ OK. She also questioned why the court should get involved in an interbranch “squabble” when Congress had the ability to push back against the president. Klayman maintained that it didn’t matter what previous presidents had done. “This not right and it’s not legal,” he said…
Howell had far fewer questions for the counsel for the government, Kathleen Hartnett of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. She asked Hartnett to clarify whether the executive actions were already in effect—they were not, Hartnett said—and whether the actions were, as Arpaio and Klayman argued, amnesty.