A federal appeals court has lifted a judge’s ruling that effectively blocked Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from conducting his controversial workplace raids.
Monday’s decision from a panel of judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a preliminary injunction issued last year by U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell. Campbell is presiding over a class-action lawsuit against Arpaio, County Attorney Bill Montgomery and the state of Arizona.
It is unclear how the ruling will affect day-to-day operations of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Arpaio said Monday that he was talking with his attorneys about the next steps.
“I’m happy with the decision,” he said. “I’m looking at all the options.”
The underlying lawsuit, filed by Puente Arizona and other civil-rights advocates, challenges the merits of two state laws that make it a felony for undocumented immigrants to use stolen identities to obtain work.[…]
The plaintiffs said the laws were less about public safety and instead designed to work as a deportation machine. In this vein, they said, the state laws were pre-empted by federal immigration rules.
Campbell’s January 2015 ruling tended to agree, and said the laws likely would be found unconstitutional. His injunction barred Arpaio’s deputies from executing their workplace raids and Montgomery’s office from using the laws to prosecute.
Monday’s opinion, issued by Senior District Judge Robert S. Lasnik and Circuit Judges Barry G. Silverman and Richard C. Tallman, acknowledged that while some applications of the laws may conflict with the federal government, this wasn’t the case when they were used to prosecute U.S. citizens.
“These bills were passed, at least in part, in an effort to solve some of Arizona’s problems stemming from illegal immigration,” the opinion stated. “But these bills were also aimed at curbing the growing and well-documented problem of identity theft in Arizona.”
The case has been sent back to the lower U.S. District Court for review.
Via AZ Central