Judges on the nation's second most influential court ruled against Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio on Friday in a case challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit affirmed the lower court’s December decision to dismiss the case for lack of legal standing.
Arpaio, an outspoken lawman, argued that Obama's move last year to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation harmed him because illegal immigrants spared from deportation commit crimes in Maricopa County and as sheriff he will be forced to spend more money policing the county and running its jails.
In the opinion released Friday, the three-judge panel said Arpaio has failed to allege an injury that’s traceable.
“His allegations that the policies will cause more crime in Maricopa County are unduly speculative,” said the opinion written by Judge Cornelia “Nina” Pillard. “Projected increases he anticipates in the county’s policing burden and jail population rest on chains of supposition and contradict acknowledged realities.”
Arpaio argued that illegal immigrants will be enticed to cross the border in the hope of benefiting from the new policies, but the judges rejected that “magnet theory.”
“Our precedents establish that standing based on third-party conduct — such as the anticipated reactions of undocumented aliens abroad — is significantly harder to show than standing based on harm imposed by one’s litigation adversary,” the opinion said.
The White House touted the ruling, praising the court for refusing Arpaio’s attempt to block “commonsense” immigration policy.
“The court correctly recognized that the Constitution does not permit federal courts to hear lawsuits that rest on baseless speculation,” spokesman Eric Schultz said. “As the district court properly observed, the deferred action programs that Sheriff Arpaio challenged represent the “valid exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”
This story was updated at 2:04 p.m.