On Feb. 16, a federal judge halted President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, prompting the administration to call upon the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this month to stay the order.
On Monday, March 23 Gov. Greg Abbott, along with three other governors, filed an amicus brief in opposition to the Obama administration’s emergency motion for stay pending appeal, court records show.
“President Obama and his lawyers have shown an alarming lack of respect for the rule of law throughout this entire judicial process,” Abbott said in a Tuesday statement.
“I expect their request for a stay to be denied so these proceedings can continue, and I am confident the case will ultimately result in victory not only for the State of Texas, but also for the Constitution of the United States.”
Abbott, while he was still attorney general, filed the original proceedings Dec. 3 in the U.S. Court for the Southern District, Texas-Brownsville Division.
Since then, more than half the states in the union joined the Texas-led lawsuit challenging Obama’s Nov. 20 amnesty order.
The states sought to enjoin the U.S. and Department of Homeland Security to prevent the implementation of “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents” – a program designed to enable millions of illegal immigrants to obtain a variety of both state and federal benefits.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen accompanied his Feb. 16 order with a 123-page memorandum opinion, in which he wrote: “If the circumstances underlying this case do not qualify preliminary relief to preserve the status quo, this Court finds it hard to imagine what case would.”
On appeal, the Obama Administration called Hanen’s ruling “unprecedented and wrong,” court records show.
In his amicus brief, Abbott, as well as the governors of Louisiana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, argue if the injunction is stayed, their states would be responsible for issuing driver’s licenses, administering the healthcare system, and managing law enforcement efforts “in response to Defendants’ unlawful and unilateral Directive.”
The amici governors also raise the question whether the president can unilaterally legalize the presence of millions of people and unilaterally give them myriad legal benefits, including work permits, Medicare, Social Security, and tax credits.
The state of Washington on behalf of 13 other states have filed a brief in support of the executive order, court records show.
Abbott’s brief also offers a rebuttal to Washington’s.
“Regardless whether the … Directive pleases policymakers in Washington State, it squarely violates statutes enacted in Washington, D.C.,” the brief states.
“And it is striking that for all of the ink Washington spills ‘welcoming’ the effects of (the executive action), that State cannot spare one word to identify the legal basis for unilaterally issuing 5 million or more federal work permits and other entitlements.”
District case No. 1:14-cv-00254
Fifth Circuit case No. 15-40238