Judge says immigration order unconstitutional as applied to Penn. case
The same day members of Congress added their support to a Texas lawsuit claiming Barack Obama overstepped his authority by offering amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants, a federal judge in a similar suit in Pennsylvania ruled that part of the president’s deportation amnesty plan was unconstitutional.
Judge Arthur J. Schwab of the Western District of Pennsylvania said Obama tried to steal Congress’ lawmaking powers through his executive action, according to the Washington Times.
Judge Schwab’s ruling does not overturn the deportation policy completely because it was part of a case dealing with the deportation of a single illegal immigrant, the article states.
As the Southeast Texas Record has reported, Texas Attorney General and governor-elect Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit on behalf of 17 states Dec. 3 in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Texas-Brownsville Division.
The suit was filed in reaction to the president’s Nov. 20 directive to the Department of Homeland Security to unilaterally suspend the immigration laws for 4 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
Led by Texas, a total of 24 states have entered the suit as plaintiffs, and on Dec. 16, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) and Ted Cruz (R) of Texas, the American Center for Law and Justice and others submitted an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief.
In the Pennsylvania case, Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, a Honduran immigrant, had been previously deported but later returned to the U.S. After he was arrested in Pennsylvania this year for drunk driving, Juarez-Escobar was charged with unlawful reentry.
In his decision, Schwab wrote that President Obama contended that although legislation is the most appropriate course of action to solve the immigration debate, his Executive Action “was necessary because of Congress’s failure to pass legislation, acceptable to him, in this regard.”
“Presidential action may not serve as a stop-gap or a bargaining chip to be used against the legislative branch,” he wrote.
In conclusion, Judge Schwab wrote that the president’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided in the U.S. Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional.