Joined by three other governors, Gov. Greg Abbott filed an amicus brief in federal court Monday, May 11, defending a preliminary injunction against President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty order.

On Feb. 16, a federal judge in Brownsville halted Obama’s executive action on immigration, provoking the administration to call upon the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in hopes of staying the order.

Although the issue is still under review, Obama has pressed on with his efforts.

“Following last week’s revelation that the Obama Administration unlawfully issued thousands of extended work visas in direct violation of the District Court’s preliminary injunction, it is now more important than ever to ensure that the injunction is upheld to prevent the Defendants from taking any further unlawful action as this case works its way through the legal process, said Abbott in a Tuesday statement.

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.

Conversely, the state of Washington on behalf of 13 other states have filed a brief in support of the executive order, court records show.

The brief filed Monday emphasizes two points: to protect the executive branches in the governors’ states from “irreparable injuries;” and to rebut “the arguments offered by the State of Washington on behalf of 14 other states.”

While the state of Washington might prefer the immigration policy embodied in the president’s executive action, this case is not a debate about immigration policy; instead it is about the constitution and the president’s most recent attempt to circumvent it, the brief argues.

Furthermore, the brief stress that congress passed the federal immigration laws in 1952, and that those laws have been amended numerous times over the ensuing decades. Those efforts by previous Congresses and previous presidents mean nothing if they allow the current president to unilaterally dispense with those statutes, unilaterally create a new immigration system, unilaterally create new employment and social welfare programs, and insulate the entire effort from judicial review.

Signing onto the brief are the governors of Louisiana, New Jersey and South Dakota.

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