Captain Rick : President Obama stepped beyond his presidential authority when he issued an executive action to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. A federal appeals court refused to lift a hold on President Obama’s executive action previously issued by a U.S. District Judge.
The U.S. Justice Department had asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s earlier decision temporarily halting the administration’s plan. Hanen issued the temporary hold in February, after Texas, Arizona and 24 other states filed a lawsuit alleging Obama’s action was unconstitutional.
Two out of the three judges on a court panel voted to deny the government’s request. The majority opinion reasoned that lifting the temporary hold could cause serious problems for states should they ultimately win their challenge. It said the states have shown that "issuance of the stay will substantially injure" them. "A stay would enable DAPA beneficiaries to apply for driver’s licenses and other benefits, and it would be difficult for the states to retract those benefits or recoup their costs even if they won on the merits. That is particularly true in light of the district court’s findings regarding the large number of potential beneficiaries, including at least 500,000 in Texas alone."
The states suing to block the plan, led by Texas, argue that Obama acted outside his authority and that the changes would force them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education. Along with Texas, the states seeking to block Obama’s action are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Justice Department lawyers sought a stay while they appealed the injunction. They argued that keeping the temporary hold interfered with the Homeland Security Department’s ability to protect the U.S. and secure the nation’s borders. They also said immigration policy is a domain of the federal government, not the states.
But, in Tuesday’s ruling, 5th Circuit judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod denied the stay, saying in an opinion written by Smith that the federal government lawyers are unlikely to succeed on the merits of that appeal. Judge Stephen Higginson dissented.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised Tuesday’s decision. "The president’s attempt to do this by himself, without a law passed by Congress and without any input from the states, is a remarkable violation of the U.S. Constitution and laws," Paxton said.
Obama announced the executive action in November, saying lack of action by Congress forced him to make sweeping changes to immigration rules on his own. Republicans said Obama overstepped his presidential authority.
The first of Obama’s orders — to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — was set to take effect Feb. 18. The other major part, extending deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, had been scheduled to begin May 19.
Hanen issued his injunction believing that neither action had taken effect. But the Justice Department later told Hanen that more than 108,000 people had already received three-year reprieves from deportation as well as work permits. Hanen said the federal government had been "misleading," but he declined to sanction the government’s attorneys.
The Justice Department has also asked the 5th Circuit to reverse Hanen’s overall ruling that sided with the states. A decision on that appeal, which will be argued before the court in July, could take months.
So, for now, Obama’s executive action to grant amnesty for millions of illegals remains on hold.
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