A federal judge from Texas stopped President Barack Obama’s executive order on behalf of illegal immigrants the late in the day before it was to go into effect on Feb. 17, 2015.
Mounting anger over Obama’s November 20, 2014 announcement of the action originally prompted 17 states to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the White House. Soon, over half of states joined the lawsuit in the critical move to prevent the president’s directive from occurring.
Brownsville based Judge Andrew Hanen indicated the order would not take effect until legal questions were decided about Obama’s intention of providing millions of illegal immigrants access to work permits and benefits.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who led the charge for the states opposed to Obama, as Attorney General, immediately releases a statement saying “Judge Hanen’s decision rightly stops the president’s overreach in its tracks. We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the president’s attempt to by-pass the will of the American people was successfully checked today.”
Although Judge Hanen’s 123-page ruling came shy from declaring Obama’s action unconstitutional, he did write that “once these services are provided, there will be no effective way of putting the toothpaste back in the tube should the plaintiffs ultimately prevail.”
Anger soared last November when Obama went on national television to proclaim he was bypassing Congress to put his action effecting up to 5 million illegal immigrants. Abbott argued the action was unconstitutional. If the federal government appeals this decision, it moves up to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The lawsuit, along with an injunction request for a temporary halt, was filed in Federal District Court in the Southern District of Texas on behalf of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
“At issue is whether the president’s unilateral executive action violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, and exceeds the chief executive’s statutory authority,” Abbott’s office stated in a release. “The states allege the president improperly bypassed Congress and the will of the people to rewrite U.S. immigration laws without regard to established legal or constitutional principles.”
Greg Abbott, who is now the Governor of Texas, clarified that a stay of Obama’s decree is necessary because “it will be difficult or impossible to undo the President’s lawlessness after the Defendants start granting applications for deferred action.”
The defendants on the motion are Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, Deputy Chief of U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Thomas S. Winkowski, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Governors Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Paul R. Lepage of Maine, Patrick L. McCrory of North Carolina and C.L. Butch Otter of Idaho also joined the list of states against the President’s executive order actions.
“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 more than 20 times,” Abbott said. “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 unilateral executive fiat.”
Suggesting actions taken by the defendants “could create confusion and reshape the constitutional separation of powers, the multistate coalition is pushing quickly to restore lawfulness to the process. A federal court review and expeditious decision is necessary to determine the scope of presidential power.”