Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday week, President Barack Obama finally made his long-anticipated announcement that he would unilaterally bypass Congress and “make changes” to our nation’s immigration laws.
The actions that Obama took mostly center around deferring deportations for certain select illegal immigrants. Furthermore, on top of deferring deportations, which would conceivably be covered under the administration’s claims of “prosecutorial descretion“, the administration is also offering a sort of “path to legalization”, based entirely on criteria made up by the administration itself.
Obama’s deliberate and willful move to ignore Congress and the American people, and set law on his own, certainly caught the attention of Texas Attorney General and Governor-Elect Greg Abbott, who immediately threatened to sue the administration over the Executive action. According to Fox News, that lawsuit has now been joined by 16 other state Attorney’s General.
Abbott made clear in a statement and press conference announcing the additional support for the lawsuit that Congress is where immigration policy is supposed to be set, and certainly not by Presidential “fiat”.
“The President’s unilateral executive action tramples the U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause and federal law. The Constitution’s Take Care Clause limits the President’s power and ensures that he will faithfully execute Congress’s laws – not rewrite them under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ The Department of Homeland Security’s directive was issued without following the Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking guidelines and is nothing but an unlawfully adopted legislative rule: an executive decree that requires federal agencies to award legal benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the priorities of Congress.
“The President is abdicating his responsibility to faithfully enforce laws that were duly enacted by Congress and attempting to rewrite immigration laws, which he has no authority to do – something the President himself has previously admitted. President Obama’s actions violate the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, which were intended to protect against this sort of executive disregard of the separation of powers.”
The multistate coalition includes: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
There is little doubt that this lawsuit will be joined by other states. This was the statement Governor Pence made when he directed Indiana’s AG to join this suit..
“While reasonable people can differ on ways to improve our nation’s broken immigration system, the President’s unilateral action was an unacceptable end run around the democratic process and joining other states in pursuing legal recourse to challenge this action is the right thing to do. This lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about denying states such as ours the opportunity to be represented in policy making through our elected members of Congress.
“This lawsuit seeks to have the federal courts restore the rule of law and proper balance to our constitutional system of government. I encourage the President to rescind his executive order and immediately begin to work with Congress to pass legislation that will secure our nation’s border and update our immigration laws. That is the proper way to deal with this or any other issue our nation faces.”