President Barack Obama's immigration overhaul will allow more immigrants to illegally cross the border and commit crimes in the United States, overwhelming law enforcement agencies, according to a lawsuit filed by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona. The lawsuit will be heard in federal district court in Washington D.C. Monday in the first major courtroom battle over the president's plan to allow nearly 5 million illegal immigrants to avoid deportation and obtain legal rights.
Arpaio's lawsuit claims Obama violated the Constitution by changing the nation's immigration policies without approval from Congress. "President Obama and others recite that the immigration system of the United States is broken," Arpaio's lawyer, conservative activist Larry Klayman, wrote in a court filing. "It is unmistakable that the only thing that is broken about the nation's immigration laws is that the defendants are determined to break those laws."
Arpaio said more than 35 percent of immigrants living in Maricopa County in central Arizona who served time in his jails in 2014 were repeat offenders. It's the latest case for legal activist Klayman, known for previously claiming President Obama was not a U.S. citizen and petitioning the Homeland Security Department to start deportation proceedings against him, according to the Associated Press.
The Arpaio lawsuit will be heard by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who was appointed by Obama. The Justice Department slammed the lawsuit, calling Arpaio's theory that more legal immigrants will result in greater crime "speculative and unsubstantiated" in its own court filing.
Arpaio, 82, calls himself "America's toughest sheriff." He is often celebrated by anti-immigration advocates and reviled by immigration proponents. A federal judge in 2013 ruled that his law enforcement tactics had violated the civil rights of Latinos, according to Bloomberg.
Obama announced in November his immigration policy aimed at halting illegal border crossings and allowing high-skilled and educated illegal immigrants to stay. "Why would we prefer a system in which they're in the shadows, potentially taking advantage of living here but not contributing?" Obama has said of his policy.