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2015-05-14

Amicus briefs defend injunction against Obama amnesty

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Following in the wake of other Texas pols, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit defending the preliminary injunction against President Barack Obama's executive amnesty issued by the United States District Court in Brownsville. Also signing onto the brief are the Governors of Louisiana, New Jersey and South Dakota, who also joined Texas in a previous amicus brief opposing the Obama Administration's request for a stay of the district court's injunction.
Governor Abbott said, "Following the recent revelation that the Obama Administration unlawfully issued thousands of extended work visas in direct violation of the District Court's preliminary injunction, it is now more important than ever to ensure that the injunction is upheld to prevent the defendants from taking any further unlawful action as this case works its way through the legal process, which I am confident will ultimately result in the President's unconstitutional executive action being struck down."
In the brief, the governors emphasize two interests in defending the preliminary injunction entered by the district court - to protect the executive branches in the governors' states from "irreparable injuries," and to rebut "the arguments offered by the State of Washington on behalf of 14 other states."
The brief also points out that, while the State of Washington might prefer the immigration policy embodied in Obama's executive action, this case is not a debate about immigration policy. Rather it's about the Constitution and the president's most recent attempt to circumvent it.
The governors' brief emphasizes that Congress passed the federal immigration laws in 1952, and that, over the ensuing decades, those laws have been amended numerous times. According to Abbott, those efforts by previous Congresses and previous administrations mean nothing if they allow the current president to "unilaterally dispense with those statutes, unilaterally create a new immigration system, unilaterally create new employment and social welfare programs, and insulate the entire effort from judicial review."
To read the brief in full, visit http://gov.texas.gov/files/press-office/Governors_Amici_Brief_05122015.pdf
Additionally, Congressman Lamar Smith, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Ted Cruz and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia - in conjunction with the American Center for Law and Justice - have filed an amicus brief with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Their brief also supports a continued injunction against Obama's executive overreach on immigration in the case of Texas v. United States.
Smith noted, "We will continue to stand with the American people, the rule of law, and our Constitution. I am encouraged by the strong congressional support for the Texas-led, 26-state lawsuit seeking to stop the president's executive immigration actions. I urge the courts to check the overreaching power of the executive branch. We must do everything possible to halt the president's unprecedented and unreasonable actions."
The amicus brief states that the president's unilaterally created deferred action programs for unlawful immigrants are unconstitutional and are contrary to congressional intent. A total of 88 members of Congress and 25 Senators signed the brief.
In December, numerous states - led by the State of Texas - filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Obama's executive overreach on immigration. At that time, Smith, Cornyn, Cruz and Goodlatte submitted an amicus brief to the federal court, supporting the states' lawsuit.
On Feb. 17, a federal judge temporarily blocked Obama's unilateral immigration actions. Since then, political appointees at the Justice Department have filed an appeal to lift the injunction. Oral arguments were heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 17.
"President Obama's unconstitutional immigration actions are an affront to the rule of law. Judge Hanen correctly ruled that the President exceeded his authority when he circumvented Congress to rewrite our immigration laws, and I am confident future courts will agree," Cornyn said.
Recalling previous interviews Obama gave on the subject of executive orders as related to immigration, Cruz noted, "Twenty-two times President Obama told Americans that he did not have the power to grant unilateral amnesty. And yet, he has unlawfully granted amnesty to millions who came here illegally. A federal judge rightfully ruled against his actions, and I hope the Court of Appeals affirms this decision. President Obama's amnesty is in defiance of the people and of Congress, and I am proud to stand with my colleagues in defense of the rule of law."