Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., and a vocal foe of illegal immigration, announced Thursday he has filed suit against President Barack Obama over his announced plan to use his executive authority to offer legal status to roughly five million illegal immigrants in the United States.
“This unconstitutional act by the President will have a serious detrimental impact on my caring out the duties and responsibilities for which I am encharged as Sheriff,” Arpaio says in his formal complaint. “Specifically, it will severely strain our resources, both in manpower and financially, necessary to protect the citizens I was elected to serve. For instance, among the many negative affects of this executive order, will be the increased release of criminal aliens back onto streets of Maricopa County, Arizona, and the rest of the nation.”
In an address to the nation Thursday, Obama announced executive action to give roughly five million immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally—primarily the parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents—the option to register with authorities and receive protection from deportation and work permits.
Arpaio gained national attention in recent years due to his aggressive—and some say illegal—crackdown on illegal immigration in Arizona, one of the states most heavily burdened by the influx of undocumented people into the U.S. from across the border with Mexico.
A years-long investigation by the Department of Justice ended without charges due to insufficient evidence to surmount the burden of proof, but records obtained by the Arizona Republic reveal that FBI agents reported finding probable cause to recommend felony charges for obstructing criminal investigations, theft by threat, tampering with witnesses, perjury and extortion.
House Republicans also announced plans on Friday to sue the President over his unilateral actions — but on the healthcare reform law, not the newly-announced immigration plan.