Today the Texas Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of a 26-state coalition, filed a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling blocking President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. The brief, which opposes the Administration’s motion for certiorari (i.e., a hearing on the case), argues the president exceeded his authority in attempting to unilaterally grant lawful presence and work permits to millions of illegal aliens.
In a statement Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “President Obama’s executive action on immigration represents an unprecedented attempt to expand the power of the executive branch. The president alone does not have the authority to grant millions of illegal immigrants a host of benefits…which should be reserved for lawful citizens. Rewriting national immigration law requires the full and careful consideration of Congress. The brief notably cites the president’s own words in which he admitted, “I just took an action to change the law.”
Below are excerpts from the brief’s introduction.
“The Executive Branch unilaterally created a program—known as DAPA—that will grant “lawful presence” and eligibility for work permits to over four million aliens who are present in this country unlawfully…Congress has created a detailed, complex statutory scheme for determining when an alien may lawfully enter and be present in this country. The Executive claims the power to ignore these statutes and unilaterally deem lawful the presence of any unauthorized alien it chooses not to remove. Moreover, the Executive asserts that it may do so for millions of aliens without even using conventional notice-and-comment procedures.
“The President himself described DAPA as “an action to change the law.” There is no statutory or constitutional authority for such a change; and at a minimum, it had to be promulgated with notice-and-comment procedure. The Executive does have enforcement discretion to forbear from removing aliens on an individual basis…But law-enforcement discretion does not confer the distinct power to deem unlawful conduct as lawful, or to change an alien’s statutory immigration classification.
“The Executive admits, as it must, that DAPA does not merely abandon (or “defer”) removal proceedings. It expressly grants aliens work-permit eligibility and lawful presence in this country. “Lawful presence” is not an empty label. It is a designation used throughout the United States Code, and it confers eligibility for numerous benefits—including Social Security, Medicare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and unemployment insurance.
“The Fifth Circuit correctly rejected petitioners’ sweeping and unprecedented assertion of Executive authority. This Court can deny certiorari on that basis alone…Petitioners’ asserted justification for review—that DAPA is an important new federal program—is at odds with their own submission that DAPA is merely a general policy statement advising the public of the Secretary of Homeland Security’s tentative intentions…In reality, of course, DAPA is a crucial change in the Nation’s immigration law and policy—and that is precisely why it could be created only by Congress, rather than unilaterally imposed by the Executive. If the Court grants review, it should affirm the injunction and uphold the separation of powers.”
Joining Texas in the lawsuit 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.
Read the Texas Attorney General’s statement and the brief in opposition to certiorari.
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:20pm EDT