If I remember correctly, the Sheriff refused the federal order because a state law requires him to do what he has been doing. His position was that the state law trumped the federal.
Actually, what this is is the Obama Justice Department trying, again, to beat down and destroy a dissenter. Obama wants to ignore laws restricting illegal immigration and Arpaio wants to obey them. Obama can’t have that. It might catch on.
“Feds to Pursue Contempt Charges Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio”
PHOENIX — Prosecutors said Tuesday they will charge Sheriff Joe Arpaio with criminal contempt-of-court for defying a judge’s orders to end his signature immigration patrols in Arizona, exposing the 84-year-old lawman to the possibility of jail time and clouding his political future as he seeks a seventh term.
The announcement in federal court sets in motion criminal proceedings against the sheriff less than a month before Election Day and comes as he has taken on a prominent role on the national political stage in 2016, appearing alongside Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on several occasions.”
More at the unsympathetic NBC News