This Jan. 9, 2013 file photo shows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking with the media in Phoenix.
Photo by Ross Franklin/AP

Appeal date set on Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration lawsuit

Sheriff Joe is not done yet.

The controversial and polarizing figure, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, will get another day in court when a federal appeals panel in Washington, D.C., on May 4 will begin hearing challenges to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Back in December, Arpaio’s federal lawsuit had been thrown out by the U.S. District Court in Washington after his lawyers tried to argue that Obama’s executive actions were both unconstitutional and illegal. In his opinion dismissing the court challenge, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said the sheriff failed to prove that he would be in direct harm due to the unilateral measures.

RELATED: Joe Arpaio sues Obama over immigration order

“The role of the Judiciary is to resolve cases and controversies properly brought by parties with a concrete and particularized injury — not to engage in policymaking better left to the political branches,” Howell, an Obama-appointee, wrote. “The plaintiff’s case raises important questions regarding the impact of illegal immigration on this nation, but the questions amount to generalized grievances which are not proper for the Judiciary to address.”

At the time, the decision was seen as the first major test of the Obama administration’s soon-to-be implemented immigration actions benefiting more than 4 million more undocumented immigrants – and the administration won. Since Howell’s ruling, however, the administration has run up against a fairly significant legal barrier that could either dramatically delay or even completely squash the president’s executive actions.

Last month, a federal judge in Texas placed a temporary hold on Obama’s immigration measures while 26 states pursue a lawsuit to ultimately bring the programs down. The Obama administration has appealed the decision, requesting an emergency stay, and the White House remains adamant that the measures will ultimately prevail at the end of the legal challenges. 

Arpaio’s decision to appeal will likely try to ride on the wave of efforts to bring down the executive actions through the courts. This is just the latest action for Arpaio in what has been nearly a career spent pressing for stringent, anti-immigrant policies. He is known for his headline-grabbing antics – including issuing pink underwear to men held in county jails and championing Arizona’s harsh “Papers Please” initiatives

Arizona, Executive Orders, Immigration Policy and Joe Arpaio

Appeal date set on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration lawsuit