CLEVELAND, May 26, 2015 — The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Obama administration’s effort to reverse a Texas judge’s action today. This temporarily blocks Obama’s effort to protect up to 5 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States.
The court came down on the side of the 26 states that alleged the president exceeded his authority when he issued his executive orders.
Obama had indicated on more than 20 occasions that as president, he does not have the constitutional authority to take executive action to expand immigration. Yet with the 2014 mid-term loss of the Senate to the Republicans, Obama reversed himself and announced that he would expand immigration rules.
The president extended deportation protection for the children of illegal immigrants and for the parents of permanent residents and U.S. citizens. Many conservative leaders in Congress opposed his action, but it was state leaders who followed through on their opposition to Obama’s orders by filing a lawsuit.
Texas took the lead among the 26 states that opposed what they claimed were unconstitutional actions by the president. The states claimed that his orders amounted to legislation by executive fiat and would force the states to spend additional money on healthcare, law enforcement and education.
On Feb. 16, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas agreed with the states’ position and issued a temporary injunction to keep the Obama Administration plan from taking effect.
If the president had prevailed in that lawsuit, young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children would have been shielded from deportation by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
On May 19, a second Obama order allowed permanent residents who have been in the country for many years and the parents of U.S. citizens to remain in the country.
The White House through its spokespersons had argued that the president had the authority to act because of Congress’s alleged refusal to repair “a broken immigration system.” That claim fell like a legal anchor when 5th Circuit judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod denied the Justice Department’s request for a stay.
The appeals court judges said, “The federal government lawyers are unlikely to succeed on the merits of that appeal.”
Now the Justice Department will have to decide whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. It must find a way to protect the U.S. and secure the nation’s borders without having the president unilaterally change the nation’s immigration laws by executive edict.