Commentary

SCOTUS Smackdown of Obama’s Amnesty End-Run Around Congress Is Not Enough

By Tom Fitton | July 6, 2016 | 11:39am EDT
President Barack Hussein Obama (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Last week, the Supreme Court handed the Obama administration a major setback with its 4-4 decision to leave in place the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a lower court ruling that halted the administration’s backdoor amnesty program known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Thankfully, enough members of the Supreme Court would not endorse Barack Obama’s lawless power grab that would allow him to grant legal status and, potentially, citizenship to millions of illegal aliens.

But, even as we applaud the High Court’s decision to protect America’s borders, I have to warn you that this action is not enough – not by a long shot. The Obama administration has stopped deporting most illegal aliens, releases criminal illegal aliens, and, as we recently reported, uses tax money to transport illegal aliens from the border in order to release them. 

Obama’s unilateral executive amnesty plan, first announced in November 2014 in a bald attempt to end-run Congress, would have allowed as many as five million illegal immigrants who are the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would prevent them from being deported. It was quickly challenged in court by Republican-governed Texas and 25 other states that argued that Obama overstepped the powers granted to him by the U.S. Constitution by infringing upon the authority of Congress.

Judicial Watch filed three amicus curiae briefs in State of Texas, et al. v. United States of America, et al.:

  • In February 2015, we filed an amicus curiae brief in opposition to the Obama administration’s request for an emergency, expedited stay of a federal court order of a key component of President Obama’s executive amnesty. Specifically, it asked that the administration be allowed to implement the President’s Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which purportedly authorizes work permits and other benefits to deportable illegal aliens.
  • In March 2015, we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit opposing the Department of  Justice’s (DOJ) “emergency” motion to allow President Obama’s unilateral “executive actions” on illegal immigration to go forward. In that brief we argued:

“If this Court were to grant Appellants’ motion, it would cast aside decades-old immigration laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.  These laws have been in place for almost 30 years.  In seeking a stay pending appeal, Appellants fail to demonstrate why destroying 30 years of status quo and undermining duly enacted laws is necessary at this immediate date.  None of the reasons cited by Appellants in their motion answer the question: why today?”

  • And in May 2015, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) in support of Texas and 20 other states that sued the federal government to prevent the Obama administration’s implementation of DAPA. In that brief, we stated:

“The Executive Branch simply seeks to replace Congress’ policy choice about whether unlawfully present aliens may remain in the United States with its own preference.  The plain language and express purposes of federal immigration law make clear Congress’ policy choices.  The Constitutional authority of Congress – as well as the respect that the Executive and Judicial Branches owe to Congress – demands that Congress’ policy choice prevails.  ‘When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body … there can be no liberty … .’ (THE FEDERALIST, James Madison)”

Judicial Watch has filed dozens of lawsuits to both expose and halt government policies that undermine immigration law. The failure to control our borders, is an existential threat to our nation, so all Americans should be thankful that Obama’s backdoor amnesty lost last week at the Supreme Court.

Tom Fitton is the President of Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption. Founded in 1994, Judicial Watch seeks to ensure government and judicial officials act ethically and do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American public.

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