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US Court Dismisses Arizona Immigration Challenge

This Jan. 9, 2013 file photo shows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking with the media in Phoenix.
This Jan. 9, 2013 file photo shows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking with the media in Phoenix.

A U.S. federal court has dismissed a lawsuit from an Arizona sheriff who claimed President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration are unconstitutional.

The D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a lower court's ruling that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has no grounds for challenging the president's actions.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Friday "we are pleased" with the court's finding. He said the court "correctly recognized that the Constitution does not permit federal courts to hear lawsuits that rest on baseless speculation."

Schultz said the White House "will continue to work toward resolving the legal challenges so that the Administration can move forward with implementing all of the President's commonsense immigration policies."

Judge Nina Pillard, writing for a three-judge panel, said Arpaio's forecasting of higher crime rates and an increase in the jail population once the president's actions are implemented "rest on claims of supposition and contradict acknowledged realities." The southwestern U.S. state of Arizona borders Mexico.

Larry Klayman, Arpaio's lawyer, says he plans to appeal the court's ruling to the Supreme Court.

President Obama's executive actions on immigration, announced in November, would offer temporary work permits and lift the threat of deportation for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Republicans widely denounced the president's order as amnesty, calling it unconstitutional. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner accused the president of acting like a "king" and an "emperor."

President Obama's executive actions have not been implemented yet, as Washington waits to hear the ruling of another appeals court that is hearing another challenge to Mr. Obama's orders from two dozen more states.

In February, a Texas judge prevented the programs from going forward after issuing a preliminary injunction.

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