Court lifts ban on Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio's workplace raids
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona speaking at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

A federal appeals court on Monday lifted a court order blocking Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's use of workplace raids to enforce Arizona laws that make it a crime for illegal immigrants to use stolen identities to obtain work.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a lower court judge erred in imposing a preliminary injunction in January 2015 against Arpaio's and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's enforcement of Arizona's identity theft laws.

Since 2008, Arpaio's workplace raids had led to the arrests of more than 700 undocumented workers for identity theft.

The raids had become a signature initiative for Arpaio, who bills himself as "America's toughest sheriff."

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Alan Crosby)