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In Executive Action Case, Arpaio Loses, Obama and Immigrants Win

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US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Dismisses Arpaio’s Arguments as “Unduly Speculative”

Today the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.  Arpaio had sued President Obama claiming that the DACA expansion and DAPA programs were beyond his authority and would cause harm to Maricopa County.  The Appeals Court ruled in favor of the Obama Administration, concluding that Arpaio lacked “standing” – meaning his claims of harm were “unduly speculative.”  

This is one of four cases before the appeals courts.  The case that has received most of the attention is the Texas lawsuit in which Judge Hanen of Brownsville, TX enjoined the programs from going forward. It is now on appeal and awaiting a decision by the 5th Circuit.  The other two cases of note: the Crane case regarding the original DACA that was brought in Mississippi by immigration enforcement agents, which has been dismissed by the 5th Circuit; and the Arizona Dream Act Coalition case, in which the 9th Circuit has ruled against Arizona’s attempts to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients, a case now being appealed by the state of Arizona to the 9th Circuit Court.

The following is a statement by David Leopold, former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a leading expert on immigration law and policy:

Today’s decision by the District of Columbia Appeals Court dismissing Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s challenge to DAPA and DACA expansion, the President’s executive actions on deportations, is a victory for the rule of law and a solid rebuke to Arpaio’s challenge to DAPA and DACA expansion. The Court’s opinion underscores that the Administration’s use of deferred action to temporarily shield undocumented parents and DREAMers is unquestionably legal—and has been used by Administrations of both parties since the 1960s. The opinion shows what happens when judges leave their politics outside the courtroom and make decisions based on the law.  We can only hope that the judges of the 5th circuit Appeals Court in New Orleans will also do the right thing and dismiss the equally meritless political lawsuit filed by the GOP before Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas.  But if the 5th circuit fails to do so—and creates a conflict with the D.C. circuit decision in the Arpaio case—chances are now much higher that U.S. Supreme Court will make the final decision on DAPA and DACA expansion.