Judge Rejects Suit By Arizona Sheriff Challenging Obama On Immigration

Judge Rejects Suit By Arizona Sheriff Challenging Obama On Immigration

By Javier Panzar, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

A federal judge rejected a lawsuit by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio seeking to overturn President Barack Obama’s executive action to spare up to 5 million immigrants without documentation from being deported.

The Arizona sheriff argued in the suit that the new policy would place a burden on law enforcement agencies by encouraging more people to enter the United States where they will commit crimes.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington said Arpaio lacked standing to bring forward a suit because his argument was overly broad and did not show he or his department have suffered a direct injury as a result of the policy.

“The role of the Judiciary is to resolve cases and controversies properly brought by parties with a concrete and particularized injury — not to engage in policymaking better left to the political branches,” Howell wrote in a ruling Tuesday. “The plaintiff’s case raises important questions regarding the impact of illegal immigration on this Nation, but the questions amount to generalized grievances which are not proper for the Judiciary to address.”

The sheriff has filed a notice of appeal saying that he will pursue the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Howell said Arpaio did not show that Obama’s decision to defer the deportation of immigrants has led or will lead to increased criminal activity.

She also criticized Arpaio’s argument that the new policy would act as a “magnet” for new immigrants because the deferred action program applies only to immigrants residing in the country before 2010, and does not affect new immigrants who enter the country illegally.

Howell noted that the executive branch has used deferred action as a tool in immigration policy for more than 20 years.

“Judge Howell’s decision today confirms what the Department of Justice and scholars throughout the country have been saying all along: the president’s executive actions on immigration are lawful,” said Deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz in a statement. “The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that federal officials can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws, and the actions announced by the president are consistent with those taken by administrations of both parties for the last half century.”

Arpaio has been one of the most vocal proponents of Arizona’s tough stance on immigration. A federal judge found in 2013 that his office had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos during traffic stops and immigration raids.

The president’s action has also been challenged by a coalition of 17 states led by Texas. A court hearing on that suit is scheduled for Jan.9 in Brownsville, Texas.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Residents Told To Prepare To Evacuate As Lava Threatens In Hawaii

Residents Told To Prepare To Evacuate As Lava Threatens In Hawaii

By Javier Panzar, Los Angeles Times

Residents in the flow path of the slowly erupting Kilauea volcano in the Puna district of Hawaii Island have been told to prepare for a possible evacuation in the next three to five days, county officials said Sunday.

A slow moving strip of lava that has been flowing since June crossed into the Pahoa Cemetery Sunday morning and is crawling along at 10 yards per hour toward downtown Pahoa, the county said in an alert Sunday.

The lava has advanced approximately 250 yards since Saturday morning, according to the alert. The lava may advance faster once it reaches the slopes at or just below the cemetery, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Residents in the flow path are being asked to prepare for a possible evacuation in the next three to five days.

The flow began June 27 and traveled through an uninhabited rain forest, skirting the Ka’ohe Homesteads subdivision in September before slowing down.

The volcano has been erupting continuously for 31 years, and the threat in September prompted the building of emergency access roads, but it’s possible that those roads could be covered by lava as the flow advances toward the ocean.

AFP Photo/Patrick Baz

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