The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Tuesday denied the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) request for an emergency stay of the temporary injunction on the President’s executive actions on immigration.
A stay would have allowed the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, both of which Obama implemented by executive action – all of which the appeals court determined unilaterally created programs that shielded millions of unlawful immigrants from removal andgrant them affirmative benefits.
In December, 26 states – led by Texas – filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration. On February 17, a federal judge temporarily blocked Obama’s unilateral immigration actions. Since then, the Justice Department filed an appeal to lift the injunction. Oral arguments were heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 17.
The appeals court ruled in its 68-page opinion that, “Twenty-six states are challenging the government’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA) as violative of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution. The district court determined that the states are likely to succeed on their procedural APA claim, so it temporarily enjoined implementation of the program. The United States appealed the preliminary injunction and moved for a stay of the injunction pending resolution of the merits of that appeal. Because the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction, we deny the motion for stay and the request to narrow the scope of the injunction.”
“Today’s decision from the federal appeals court is another victory for the Constitution and the American people,” said House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). “President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration poses a clear and present danger to our Constitution and I am pleased that the President’s actions continue to be halted so that the states’ lawsuit can continue to move forward.”
Goodlatte said, “By acting unilaterally to rewrite our nation’s immigration laws, President Obama has disregarded the will of the American people and violated the Constitution. Such lawlessness must be stopped so that we preserve the separation of powers in the Constitution and protect individual liberty.”
“I am encouraged by today’s decision to uphold a Texas judge’s injunction preventing the Obama administration from forging ahead with unilateral amnesty actions,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), noting he “will continue to be a vocal supporter of the Texas-led, 26-state lawsuit and our nation’s rule of law. The American people should also be encouraged by today’s ruling which shows that the courts are still willing to put a check on an overreaching executive branch. As the president himself has admitted, he does not have the authority to unilaterally rewrite laws.”
Earlier this month, Goodlatte, Smith, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) – in conjunction with the American Center for Law and Justice – filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a continued injunction against the administration’s “executive overreach on immigration in the case of Texas v. United States.” The amicus brief stated “the President’s unilaterally created deferred action programs for unlawful immigrants are unconstitutional and are contrary to congressional intent. A total of 88 Representatives and 25 Senators signed the brief.”
Expressing Democrats’ feelings about the Fifth Circuit’s decision, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) stated, “I am disappointed in today’s ruling by the Fifth Circuit, which continues to block President Obama’s legal authority for expansion of DACA and implementation of DAPA.”
“President Obama’s actions would allow millions of our neighbors, friends and family members who are contributing to our communities and pose no national security threat to continue living and working in the United States without fear of deportation,” Roybal-Allard stated. “That is not only the right thing to do; but also in the best interest of our country.”
Continuing, she said in a statementthat, “We should allow immigrant families who live and work here to continue contributing to our economy. At the same time, we should focus America’s immigration enforcement resources on the removal of serious criminals and national security threats.”
“Absent the passage of comprehensive immigration reform,” she said, “our communities will continue to suffer from many of the devastating effects of deportation and family separation. The President’s executive actions are a significant step in the right direction. I am optimistic that the Administration’s appeal will ultimately succeed, and that this lawsuit will be settled in favor of our immigrant families and youth.”
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said, "FAIR applauds the Fifth Circuit of Appeals decision maintaining the injunction on President Obama’s executive amnesty programs. FAIR, along with our legal affiliate the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), is among many organizations and elected officials that filed amicus briefs in support of the 26 states suing to prevent the president’s expanded DACA and the Deferred Action for Parents of American DAPA programs from imposing new burdens and costs on their states."
"The majority ruling affirms FAIR’s long-held contention that the Obama administration’s actions represent an abdication of the federal government’s responsibility to faithfully carry out our nation’s immigration laws and that those policies directly harm state and local governments," Stein said in a statement in response to the appeals court’s ruling. "The Fifth Circuit agreed with the lower court that implementing the administration’s amnesty programs ‘would constitute a cognizable injury’ to the states."
Continuing, Stein said, "The Fifth Circuit decision must also compel Congress to compel the robust enforcement of immigration laws by the executive branch. Among the broad range of legislative remedies, Congress can bar funding for amnesty programs not expressly authorized by Congress, bar the issuance of work authorization to any illegal alien, and require [the Department of] Homeland Security issue detainer requests be issued in all cases in which deportable aliens are arrested and charged with other offenses."
"The Fifth Circuit further reinforces the lower court’s opinion that the president does not have the constitutional authority to grant broad amnesty to illegal aliens. Now it is time for Congress to exercise its own constitutional responsibilities to ensure that the laws it has enacted are faithfully carried out by this and future administrations," Stein concluded.
The controversy over the legality of the administration’s actions in the run-up to the appeals court’s ruling flared last month during a House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary Sarah Saldaña engaged in a testy exchange with Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) over whether ICE officers and Border Patrol agents should abide by President Obama’s policy directives on immigration rather than the law and the stay the White House was appealing.
As Homeland Security Today reported, the revelation came about during the hearing when Young brought up accounts of ICE officials and Border Patrol agents who’ve been instructed to follow the President’s new directives on immigration.
Young questioned Saldaña aboutthe reports that if ICE officers and Border Patrol agents do not follow the President’s policy directives in lieu of the law, that they will face consequences for not doing so.
Young told Saldaña that, "If I had policies or directives that were contrary to the law, I would understand if my employees did not want to follow them. I would expect them to follow the law first."
Saldaña responded, saying, "That is where you and I probably have a fundamental disagreement.”