On Friday, in Arpaio v. Obama, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s attempt to challenge the Obama administration’s immigration initiatives in federal court. According to the court, Sheriff Arpaio lacks standing to challenge the measures. Judge Cornelia Pillard wrote the opinion for the court, joined by Judge Sri Srinivasan. Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote a separate opinion concurring in the judgment.
The introduction to Judge Pillard’s opinion provides a nice summary of the court’s analysis. It also seems to accept the Obama administration’s characterization of its immigration reforms as an exercise of enforcement discretion, suggesting that this panel would have rejected Sheriff Arpaio’s claims on the merits.
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security facing what he perceives to be enormous practical obstacles to removing from the United States the eleven million people unlawfully present here, has sought to set enforcement priorities. He accordingly directed relevant agencies temporarily to defer low-priority removals of non-dangerous individuals so that the agencies can focus their resources on removing dangerous criminals and strengthening security at the border. People whose removal has been deferred are generally eligible to apply for authorization to work, and to reside in the United States for up to three years.
The opinion is long and interested readers should read the entire editorial in the Washington Post. However, it basically says that Sheriff Joe doesn’t have standing. Period.