An executive order for immigration amnesty given by President Obama, which grants tentative legal status to millions of people, spurs lawsuits by 17 states and governors. The governors’ claim is in a 75-page document filed in a Texas federal district court that states “This lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about the rule of law, presidential power and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.” President Obama’s unilateral immigration action, which was presented November 20, would allow for work permits and tentative status to nearly five million illegal immigrants, and would protect many others from deportation. However, those not included would not have the same legal standing as the five million officially granted the amnesty.
The governors have said that their reasoning for suing is due to the cost and responsibility that comes with allowing five million people to stay. Their state taxpayers would be required to pay for the expenses entailed with schooling, health care, and police to handle a sudden influx of illegal border crossings. Texas is joined in the lawsuit by the states Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Maine, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin and South Dakota. Attorney General Greg Abbot of Texas leads the charge of spurring lawsuits against immigration amnesty by President Obama. Mr. Abbot has challenged the Obama administration 31 times and this will be his 34th against the federal government. This current lawsuit is being utilized by Republicans as a method to stall President Obama’s amnesty action through the courts.
Republicans are looking at other options as well. The House of Representatives worked on a bill that does not fund any federal agencies, but probably will not see the light of day due to a Democratic-led Senate. Some GOP members have even suggested terminating the existing protections for children of immigrants. Both moves are risky and controversial. Therefore, Ted Yoho, a Florida Republican Representative, drafted the “Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act” stating that the executive branch does not have the authority to halt deportations of certain categories of undocumented workers in the U.S. It cleared the House, but it cannot undo what President Obama has ordered. Conservatives have even pressed for Speaker of the House John Boehner to take a step further in responding to the immigration policy by insisting that the House suspend funds to stop the Administration from carrying out their agenda. However, Speaker Boehner is trying to avoid another government shutdown because of the amount of detrimental political damage it did to the GOP.
On December 3, as a counter to the Republican efforts, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats are joining forces to create what is called an “Immigration Strike Team.” A message was delivered to many of the spokespeople of prominent caucuses, such as Asian, Black and Hispanic caucuses, and some who have connections with Spanish-language television like Telemundo to give the strike team a bilingual platform. The first conference for the new strike team occurred on the afternoon of December 3, and they will continue to work together as long as needed. A Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing is scheduled for next week, in which the team plans to garner attention to explain the benefits of immigration amnesty by President Obama, despite the spur of lawsuits still pending.
By Joshua Hamer
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