List of states suing Obama over his immigration actions grows

By Griselda Nevarez Republicans in Congress aren’t the only ones challenging President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Seventeen states filed a joint lawsuit this week in federal court alleging that Obama exceeded his powers by taking unilateral action on immigration. The states originally involved in the lawsuit were Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. That list grew on Friday as Arizona and Florida announced they were also joining the lawsuit. “This lawsuit is not about immigration,” state officials argue in the lawsuit. “It is about the rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.” SEE ALSO: Goodlatte says Obama ‘clearly exceeded his constitutional authority’ Texas’ Republican Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He said in a statement that Obama’s executive actions “tramples” the Constitution’s Take Care Clause that mandates the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to the lawsuit Thursday, saying that the executive actions Obama announced last month “are clearly within the confines of the law.” Several legal experts echoed that sentiment in a conference call with reporters Friday. “What he has done is actually something he’s required to do, and that’s to prioritize removals,” David Leopold, an immigration attorney, said referring to Obama. “And he has done it in a way that makes the most sense. He’s focusing on national security risks. He’s focusing on seriously dangerous criminals, felons.” Last month, Obama announced he was taking executive action to shields from deportation up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The president also said his administration was also taking action to focus on deporting felons, not families using the scarce resources provided by Congress for immigration enforcement efforts. Leopold said prosecutorial discretion gives the president the power to take such actions. SEE ALSO: Immigrants in Western states benefit from Obama’s executive action The lawsuit also alleges that Obama “rewrote the law” in issuing his executive actions on immigration. It quotes the president saying last month that he “took an action to change the law.” Stephen Legomsky, a law professor and the former chief counsel of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told reporters Friday that Obama “made a verbal mistake” when he made that comment. “What he should’ve said is ‘I changed the policy,’ which is a much more accurate description of what he has done,” he said. Legomsky also noted that opponents are now using Obama’s words against him. But he said the “real question” people should be asking is whether or not Obama actually changed the law. “My view is that he didn’t change the law at all,” Legomsky said. “On the contrary, he exercised a discretion that existing law explicitly recognizes that he has.” He also disputed the lawsuit’s claim that through deferred action, undocumented immigrants will essentially be given legal status and “legal rights.” He pointed to a memorandum that states deferred action “does not confer any form of legal status in this country.” It also doesn’t it put undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship or give them green cards. “It simply means that, for a specified period of time, an individual is permitted to be lawfully present in the United States,” the memo states. The lawsuit comes the same week that House Republicans voted to approve a bill that seeks to block Obama’s executive actions on immigration. But the Senate is unlikely to take up the bill, and the White House indicated Thursday that Obama would veto it. SEE ALSO: Latinos view House immigration vote as a personal attackThe post List of states suing Obama over his immigration actions grows appeared first on Voxxi.

Texas’ Republican Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott spoke to reporters this week about the lawsuit he filed challenging Obama’s executive actions on immigration. He filed the lawsuit on behalf of a coalition of 17 states. Since then, at least two more states have joined the lawsuit. (Photo credit: Abbott’s office)

By Griselda Nevarez

Republicans in Congress aren’t the only ones challenging President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Seventeen states filed a joint lawsuit this week in federal court alleging that Obama exceeded his powers by taking unilateral action on immigration.

The states originally involved in the lawsuit were Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. That list grew on Friday as Arizona and Florida announced they were also joining the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit is not about immigration,” state officials argue in the lawsuit. “It is about the rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.”

SEE ALSO: Goodlatte says Obama ‘clearly exceeded his constitutional authority’

Texas’ Republican Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He said in a statement that Obama’s executive actions “tramples” the Constitution’s Take Care Clause that mandates the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to the lawsuit Thursday, saying that the executive actions Obama announced last month “are clearly within the confines of the law.”

Several legal experts echoed that sentiment in a conference call with reporters Friday.

“What he has done is actually something he’s required to do, and that’s to prioritize removals,” David Leopold, an immigration attorney, said referring to Obama. “And he has done it in a way that makes the most sense. He’s focusing on national security risks. He’s focusing on seriously dangerous criminals, felons.”

Last month, Obama announced he was taking executive action to shields from deportation up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

The president also said his administration was also taking action to focus on deporting felons, not families using the scarce resources provided by Congress for immigration enforcement efforts. Leopold said prosecutorial discretion gives the president the power to take such actions.

SEE ALSO: Immigrants in Western states benefit from Obama’s executive action

The lawsuit also alleges that Obama “rewrote the law” in issuing his executive actions on immigration. It quotes the president saying last month that he “took an action to change the law.”

Stephen Legomsky, a law professor and the former chief counsel of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told reporters Friday that Obama “made a verbal mistake” when he made that comment. “What he should’ve said is ‘I changed the policy,’ which is a much more accurate description of what he has done,” he said.

Legomsky also noted that opponents are now using Obama’s words against him. But he said the “real question” people should be asking is whether or not Obama actually changed the law.

“My view is that he didn’t change the law at all,” Legomsky said. “On the contrary, he exercised a discretion that existing law explicitly recognizes that he has.”

He also disputed the lawsuit’s claim that through deferred action, undocumented immigrants will essentially be given legal status and “legal rights.”

He pointed to a memorandum that states deferred action “does not confer any form of legal status in this country.” It also doesn’t it put undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship or give them green cards. “It simply means that, for a specified period of time, an individual is permitted to be lawfully present in the United States,” the memo states.

The lawsuit comes the same week that House Republicans voted to approve a bill that seeks to block Obama’s executive actions on immigration. But the Senate is unlikely to take up the bill, and the White House indicated Thursday that Obama would veto it.

SEE ALSO: Latinos view House immigration vote as a personal attack

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