Judge seems skeptical of challenge to Obama immigration plan

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2013 file photo, Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks in Phoenix. A gadfly attorney and a county sheriff from Arizona want to halt President Barack Obama’s immigration program in the first courtroom battle over the initiative designed to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation. On Monday, lawyer Larry Klayman will try to persuade a judge nominated by Barack Obama that the immigration system, contrary to what the president says, isn’t really broken. Klayman says the president has violated the Constitution by doing an end run around Congress and that drastic changes in immigration programs should be stopped. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge seems skeptical of a lawsuit that seeks to halt President Barack Obama’s immigration plan to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell heard arguments Monday in a case brought by an Arizona sheriff who claims the program will let more illegal immigrants enter the country and commit crimes, burdening law enforcement.

Howell repeatedly questioned whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has legal standing to challenge Obama’s action. She told Apraio’s attorney Larry Klayman that Congress is in a better position to question the president’s authority rather than a federal court.

A lawyer for the Obama administration called Arpaio’s case a “political dispute” that should be dismissed.

Howell said she would issue a ruling soon.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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