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Judge blocks Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio from conducting workplace immigrant raids

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A federal judge has issued a court order barring Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from conducting workplace raids targeting suspected illegal immigrants in another blow to Arpaio’s high-profile actions in Arizona.

U.S. District Judge David Campbell on Monday issued a preliminary injunction stopping the raids that have resulted in hundreds of arrests and have become a signature initiative for Arpaio, who bills himself as “America’s toughest sheriff.”

Arpaio’s deputies have conducted raids at businesses in his county suspected of employing illegal immigrants who used fraudulent identification papers to obtain work.

In the decision, Campbell said immigrant advocates seeking the injunction likely would prevail in their U.S. District Court lawsuit claiming that the raids are unconstitutional and that two state statutes used to back them are trumped by federal law.

“Plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits, that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction and that the balance of equities and public interest favor an injunction,” the judge wrote.

A county attorney spokesman said officials are weighing an appeal.

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Arpaio said such operations are needed because the federal government has failed to do enough to combat illegal immigration.

“The citizens of Maricopa County have been stripped of another protection that this state attempted to enact to protect the integrity and identity of its citizens,” Arpaio said in a statement.

Since 2008, nearly 800 people have been arrested for identity theft in the workplace raids. The last one was in June.

There already were plans in the works to end these raids. Last month, lawyers for Arpaio revealed in court papers that the special unit involved in the raids would be disbanded because of setbacks in previous court rulings.

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“We hope that justice will continue to prevail, that not one more worker is arrested for providing for his or her family, and that the racist, anti-immigrant machine for which Arizona is known is dismantled completely,” said Carlos Garcia, director of the immigrant rights group Puente Arizona, which sued to stop the raids.

This was the latest setback for Arpaio and a state known for its efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

A different federal judge is weighing whether to hold Arpaio in contempt in a case in which that judge found that the sheriff’s deputies racially profiled Latino drivers. Arpaio has denied profiling and has appealed.

Courts also have struck down Arizona’s ban on driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and its human smuggling law.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Will Dunham)

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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