Amnesty Groups Rally As Appeals Court Hears Executive Amnesty Arguments

AP Photo
The Associated Press

Amnesty groups took to the streets in New Orleans Friday in support of President Obama’s executive amnesty as the Fifth Circuit Court Court of Appeals heard arguments for and against its constitutionality.

While activists shouted outside, inside the courtroom judges were hearing the arguments of the 26 states challenging President Obama’s executive amnesty and Justice Department lawyers defending it.

In February a district court judge blocked implementation of the executive amnesty programs — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — that were slated to provide to shield up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits.

The Obama administration’s lawyers are expected to face an uphill battle in arguing to allow the programs to move forward. The same panel of justices who heard an earlier emergency appeal to lift the lower court’s injunction are hearing Friday’s arguments on the totality of the lower court’s ruling.

Both sides have, however, struck an optimistic tone about their prospects.

“This will be an argument before the Fifth Circuit on Friday that’s based on the merits of the case,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this week. “And the administration continues to have a lot of confidence in the power of those legal arguments.”

Thursday Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — the state leading the fight against the actions — reiterated the states’ concerns with executive amnesty.

“The Obama Administration unilaterally rewrote the law, creating an amnesty program that will reward people who are here illegally with free government benefits. Any sweeping change in immigration policy must come from our elected leaders in Congress – not from one individual via executive action. The district court rightly stopped this program in its tracks, and we will continue fighting President Obama’s disregard for the rule of law.”

Regardless of the happenings on the inside of the courtroom, amnesty activists demonstrated and blocked traffic outside.