In 2012, President Obama began introducing his policy on illegal immigration, starting with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which stated that individuals who had been brought to the country as children would not be deported.
In 2015, Obama announced the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as the DAPA program, which would expand the number of illegal immigrants who would be granted that status of lawfully present and would therefore not be deported to their countries of origin. In total, Obama’s rulings would allow for 5 million illegal immigrant to remain in the country, without threat of deportation.
The president’s decision was met with great displeasure by more than half of the states. Leading the 26 states that are in opposition to the Obama administration’s decision is Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been vocally at odds with the ruling since its introduction.
Obama first brought this action to the public eye in 2012, when he stated that immigrants who met specific requirements would not be deported, even in the case of illegal immigration. One of these requirements was that the individuals have no criminal background. Though many of the Latino communities were pleased with the ruling, Republicans spoke out against the action, claiming that it was unconstitutional and illegal. Since then, over half of the states have sued the President for his decision, in the hopes of reversing the ruling.
Texas’ Attorney General, Paxton, has been at the forefront of the controversy and is responsible for leading the coalition that has been seeking and recently achieved an injunction, blocking the fulfillment of Obama’s deferred action program. This success occurred on Nov. 9, 2015 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and followed the verbal presentation by Solicitor General Scott Keller in July. The successful action in November was the third favorable ruling by a federal court of this coalition led by Texas
Paxton has stated his concern that the president’s decision was unwise and rash and that the decision being made independently was unauthorized.
“Rewriting national immigration law requires the full and careful consideration of Congress, not the political will and assertion of one person,” Paxton said.
On March 29 the Texas attorney general filed a merits brief, along with the Supreme Court which listed the opposition to the plan that has been called unlawful and illegal. Oral arguments will be presented to the Supreme Court on April 18.
The states are concerned that the President has ignored the rule of law, in regards to the changing of the immigration policy.
“The Obama Administration has consistently demonstrated disregard for the rule of law in asserting that it has the legal authority to unilaterally change the immigration policy of the United States,” Paxton said.
Among the other states that are fighting the immigration plan are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.