AUSTIN, Texas — On Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that Texas would lead a seventeen state coalition in a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action, under which he announced in November that he would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. The lawsuit will mark the thirty-first time that Abbott has sued the Obama administration.
Joining the Lone Star State are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
“This lawsuit is not about immigration,” states the complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Texas. “It is about the rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.”
The complaint argues that Obama’s executive action violates the Take Care Clause of Article II, § 3, clause 5 of the United States Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§551 et seq. The press release from Abbott’s office explained the legal arguments in more detail, with this statement from Abbott:
“The President’s unilateral executive action tramples the U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause and federal law. The Constitution’s Take Care Clause limits the President’s power and ensures that he will faithfully execute Congress’s laws – not rewrite them under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ The Department of Homeland Security’s directive was issued without following the Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking guidelines and is nothing but an unlawfully adopted legislative rule: an executive decree that requires federal agencies to award legal benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the priorities of Congress.
“The President is abdicating his responsibility to faithfully enforce laws that were duly enacted by Congress and attempting to rewrite immigration laws, which he has no authority to do – something the President himself has previously admitted. President Obama’s actions violate the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, which were intended to protect against this sort of executive disregard of the separation of powers.”
Specifically regarding the DHS Directive, the press release clarifies that its provisions of “legal benefits like federal work permits, Medicare, and Social Security … to individuals who are openly violating immigration laws” failed to comply with the notice and comment periods required under the APA’s rulemaking procedures. Moreover, Obama’s executive action “will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, which will affect increased state investment in law enforcement, health care and education.”
Abbott is also the Governor-elect, and will leave the Attorney General’s office in January. His successor, Attorney General-elect Ken Paxton, had previously vowed he would continue to support this litigation after he takes the reins from Abbott, as Breitbart Texas reported. On Wednesday, in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, Paxton said:
“Texans can be certain that their current Attorney General and Attorney General-elect will use all their power, including litigation, to protect the State of Texas and all Texans from the harm caused by the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional immigration order. President Obama far exceeded his prosecutorial discretion by declaring huge categories of illegal immigrants to be exempt from federal law. And he lacks the authority to unilaterally grant employment authorizations to more than 5 million illegal immigrants. The Attorney General of Texas has a duty to uphold the rule of law, and I will honor this duty.”
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