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A judge has sided with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the first clash in what is expected to be a major court fight over the legality of President Obama’s executive immigration actions, ordering a fast track for case arguments and hearings.

Two Justice Department lawyers representing Obama in the case had asked for the deadline for their initial response to be delayed until late January.

But U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell in Washington, D.C., granted a motion by Arpaio’s attorney, Larry Klayman of FreedomWatch, to move things along quickly.

Howell ordered Obama to respond to Arpaio’s motion for a preliminary injunction – to protect the U.S. while the court considers the constitutionality of Obama’s actions – by Dec. 15. A full preliminary injunction hearing is set for Dec. 22.

Arpaio was the first to file a complaint regarding the immigration actions Obama announced to the nation Nov. 20, which effectively granted amnesty to up to 5 million illegal aliens by delaying deportation.

“We are very pleased that Judge Howell has ordered an expedited hearing on our motion for preliminary injunction which asks to preserve the status quo and stop the implementation of President Obama’s executive order,” Klayman said. “The executive order violates the Constitution, as it seeks to circumvent the powers which the Framers delegated to Congress.”

Klayman argued Obama’s executive action “thwarts Sheriff Arpaio’s duties and responsibilities as the chief law enforcement officer of Maricopa County, Arizona.”

The complaint states: “This unconstitutional act will have a serious detrimental impact. Specifically, it will severely strain our resources. Among the many negative [e]ffects 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.”

Klayman argued that similar to his case against National Security Agency snooping, “one day that constitutional rights are violated is one day too long.”

“In the NSA case, the Fourth Amendment rights of nearly all Americans were violated. In this case concerning Obama’s immigration order, the constitutional powers of the Congress are being flouted,” he said.

WND reported earlier Wednesday that Arpaio’s complaint argued the timing is crucial, because the government already is pouring resources into meeting the orders, and the offer of amnesty likely will draw a whole new flood of illegal aliens.

Department of Justice attorneys Adam Kirschner and Brad Cohen had argued to a federal court in Washington, D.C., that Christmas is coming, and they need a lot more time.

The attorneys had asked that they be allowed until the second half of January even to submit an initial response to Arpaio’s motion for a preliminary injunction, even though the administration has boasted it has thoroughly examined the legality of Obama’s immigration action.

“This timeline is also warranted because it will be particularly difficult to address the array of issues presented on a condensed schedule in light of the upcoming holidays,” the attorneys said.

Klayman told the judge, however, that “the defendants obviously have already extensively reviewed and analyzed their view of the law and precedents.”

“On Nov. 20, 2014, the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice released its 33 page legal memorandum for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Klayman told the judge the Obama administration officials “have not only evidenced but publicly boasted that they have extensively examined these issues legally.”

Klayman’s submission to the court noted that even though Obama never signed a formal executive order on his immigration action, the impact is that programs and procedures are being changed already to meet his demands.

The president’s decision, Klayman wrote, “orders direct DHS personnel including the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE to immediately suspend enforcement of immigration laws with regard to any who appear to be eligible for the new deferred action programs, even though such persons might not yet be able to apply for formal recognition.”

The instructions also tell law enforcement officials to “immediately” begin identifying those who could be given the special benefit.

Klayman also argued that the federal government already has leased office space and begun the process of hiring 1,000 new workers to process the illegals through Obama’s amnesty program.

All of those actions would be for nothing if a court rules that the program doesn’t meet the Constitution’s requirements, he wrote.

“By contrast if the implementation is simply delayed until a court decision, there will be no such harm,” he said.

Another injury would result from a new flood of illegals drawn by the promise of amnesty, he said.

“America witnessed the tragedy and the shock as thousands of ‘unaccompanied minors’ rushed across the nation’s southern border shared with Mexico in the summer of 2014. Some of these ‘unaccompanied minors’ were middle-aged men with gray hair claiming to be 17 years old without identity documents, some intact families but misreported among the news, but some children as young as four (4) years old. Young men and middle-aged men – lacking any documentation but claiming to be 17 years old – were placed in high schools next to 16 and 17 year old girls.”

The fallout has resulted in “an epidemic of Enterovirus D68 and most likely hepatitis,” he said.

“The Department of Homeland Security should be ordered to stop issuing any new DACA amnesty or work permits or renewing DACA status and Employment Authorization Cards until the court can analyze, review, and decide upon whether DACA status is legally valid and constitutional.”

The original lawsuit, filed only hours after Obama’s immigration announcement was made, names Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Immigration Services chief Leon Rodriquez and Attorney General Eric Holder as defendants.

It seeks to avoid “irreversible harm” from Obama’s actions because they will “encourage[e] more illegal aliens to enter the country unlawfully.”

Arpaio, who has been consistently at odds with the Obama administration, released a statement at the time: “I am not seeking to myself enforce the immigration laws as this is the province of the federal government. Rather, I am seeking to have the president and the other defendants obey the U.S. Constitution, which prevents this executive order from having been issued in the first place. This unconstitutional act must be enjoined by a court of law on behalf of not just myself, but all of the American people.”

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