Seventeen states are involved in a lawsuit filed Wednesday challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the governors of Mississippi, Maine, North Carolina and Idaho filed the suit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas.
The states — led by Texas — charge that Obama’s actions violate the president’s duty under the Constitution to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
“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,'” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said after filing.
Abbott, who will become governor in January, went on to call the immigration orders “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.”
Last month President Obama announced his controversial executive action on immigration, including granting legal status and work permits to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants — an act which conferred eligibility for Medicare and Social Security to millions of previously ineligible foreign nationals.
“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,” Abbott said. “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.”
The Texas Attorney Generals’ office laid out the challenge to Obama’s actions in three bullet points:
– The executive action on immigration conflicts with the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The Take Care Clause limits the scope of presidential power and ensures that the chief executive will uphold and enforce Congress’s laws – not unilaterally rewrite them under the cover of “prosecutorial discretion.”
– The DHS Directive failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s required notice and comment rulemaking process before providing that legal benefits like federal work permits, Medicare, and Social Security be awarded to individuals who are openly violating immigration laws.
– The executive action to dispense with federal immigration law will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, which will affect increased state investment in law enforcement, health care and education.
The suit comes as Republicans in Congress consider ways to confront Obama’s unilateral actions.