Politics

Obama Takes Amnesty to SCOTUS

White House seeks Supreme Court blessing for power grab that would unilaterally legalize millions

The White House announced Tuesday it will appeal to the Supreme Court a federal appeals court decision Monday to block President Obama’s unconstitutional attempt to expand amnesty programs for 5 million illegal immigrants.

The lower court decision, a victory for illegal immigration opponents, struck down the president’s attempts to broaden provisions, respectively known as DACA and DAPA, that would grant “lawfully present” status to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, and for undocumented parents whose children were born here and therefore hold birthright citizenship.

The ruling on Monday, handed down by the 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans, means people who may be eligible for these programs cannot apply unless another court order — likely from the Supreme Court — reverses the block.

The lawsuit was brought in February by 26 states, led by Texas, to challenge Obama’s sweeping immigration executive action, first announced in November 2014 after the mid-term elections.

Appearing on “The Laura Ingraham Show” Tuesday, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller called Monday “a great day for the rule of law,” noting it was the third court ruling in favor of the 26 states challenging Obama’s executive actions.

“Our lawsuit was very simple,” he said. “It said Congress gets to decide who’s in this country lawfully, not the president by himself.”

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Keller conceded that prosecutorial discretion gives the president wide latitude in prioritizing illegal immigrants who get deported. But he said Obama went far beyond that by trying to grant access to Medicare, Social Security, international travel, international travel and many other rights not authorized under the law.

“Our lawsuit doesn’t deal with deportation,” he said. “It doesn’t tell the executive you have to deport anyone, or can’t deport anyone. It’s focused on the legalization, the benefits that accrue from that.

The states contended the action was conducted with no comment or feedback from the public, and that it constitutes an enormous overreach of executive power that piggybacks on the president’s blatant disregard for enforcing immigration laws he doesn’t personally endorse.

“The ruling of the three-judge panel was clear and definitive. The president does not have the authority to simply ignore immigration laws and substitute his own policies in their place,” the Federation for American Immigration Reform said in a statement.

“In addition to the two amnesty programs announced last November, the administration, under the guise of setting priorities, has unilaterally adopted policies that place an estimated 87 percent of all immigration law violators off-limits to enforcement.”

The plaintiff states also argued that they would be forced to spend millions of dollars on state and local government services.

The plaintiff states also argued they would be forced to spend millions of dollars on state and local government services, like issuing drivers licenses, to accommodate the immigrants who were granted quasi-legal status under the programs.

While the defeat decreases the likelihood that Obama’s mass amnesty programs will be implemented during his presidency, the battle is far from over. Should the Court agree to take the case, it would likely get a hearing in April 2016 and a final decision by the end of June.

Still, legal defeats alone may not be enough to derail these amnesty ambitions. There exists a strong possibility that the administration will look to circumvent this and future court decisions blocking DAPA and DACA. A leaked Department of Homeland Security memo from this summer revealed as much, outlining schemes in the works that would begin issuing work permits in defiance of court orders.

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