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Federal Judge Halts Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Worksite Raids

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio has not been having a good time in court lately.  Not only is he in serious trouble with the law himself at home in Arizona, but his lawsuit against President Obama’s executive action was tossed out two days before Christmas.  And now, yet another federal judge has issued an injunction halting workplace raids, one of Arpaio’s favorite tools of anti-immigrant enforcement.

This week, federal Judge David Campbell tossed out a law dating back to 2007 and signed by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, in effect preventing Arpaio from conducting worksite raids to arrest undocumented workers and county attorneys from prosecuting them.  According to USA Today, Arpaio and his deputies have conducted more than 80 such raids since 2008, leading to the arrests of more than 700 undocumented workers — many of whom were parents or family members who were subsequently deported away from loved ones.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs — including Puente Arizona, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network — argued that immigration was not a matter for the state, saying:

Arizona’s passage of laws to penalize undocumented workers’ use of false or fictitious identities to ‘obtain or continue employment’ directly intrudes upon the federal government’s exclusive authority in the (federally created) employment verification process….the Constitution grants the federal government exclusive, plenary power over immigration matters…

The judge agreed, writing:

The Court also finds that the public interest favors an injunction. The public has little interest in the enforcement of laws that are unconstitutional. … Plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits, that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction, and that the balance of equities and public interest favor an injunction.