‘Equally divided’ Supreme Court rejects Obama’s executive amnesty

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/06/23/equally-divided-supreme-court-rejects-obamas-executive-amnesty/

(CNSNews.com) – “An equally divided” U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’decision  blocking implementation of President Obama’s executive amnesty.

“Today’s decision keeps in place what we have maintained from the very start: one person, even a president, cannot unilaterally change the law. This is a major setback to President Obama’s attempts to expand executive power, and a victory for those who believe in the separation of powers and the rule of law,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement following the ruling.

The ruling was a defeat for the Obama administration, which sought to protect more than 4.3 million illegal aliens from the threat of deportation by conferring “lawful presence” on those who applied under the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs.

However, on Dec. 3, 2014, Texas and 25 other states asked a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas for a preliminary injunction blocking the administration’s executive actions on immigration, arguing that they were unconstitutional and therefore would impose unlawful financial burdens on the states.

The Executive Branch countered that it had the legal authority to defer prosecution and deportation of illegal aliens who posed little or no risk to national security.

Last February, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction in Texas, et.al. v. United States blocking implementation of the amnesty program.

The federal government then appealed the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which upheld Hanen’s injunction.

“Deferred action…is much more than nonenforcement,” a 2-1 majority on the appellate panel ruled on Nov. 9, 2015. “It would affirmatively confer ‘lawful presence’ and associated benefits on a class of unlawfully present aliens. Though revocable, that change in designation would trigger…eligibility for federal benefits…and state benefits – for example, driver’s licenses and unemployment insurance – that would not otherwise be available to illegal aliens…

“Declining to prosecute does not transform presence deemed unlawful by Congress into lawful presence and confer eligibility for otherwise unavailable benefits based on that change…

“At its core, this case is about the [Dept. of Homeland Security] Secretary’s decision to change the immigration classification of millions of illegal aliens on a class-wide basis. The states properly maintain that DAPA’s grant of lawful presence and accompanying eligibility for benefits is a substantive rule that must go through notice and comment, before it imposes substantial costs on them, and that DAPA is substantively contrary to law,” the appellate panel ruled.

“The INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] prescribes how parents may derive an immigration classification on the basis of their child’s status and which classes of aliens can achieve deferred action and eligibility for work authorization. DAPA is foreclosed by Congress’ careful plan; the program is ‘manifestly contrary to the statute,’ and therefore was properly enjoined.

“The district court did not err and most assuredly did not abuse its discretion. The order granting the preliminary injunction is affirmed.”

— Written by Barbara Hollingsworth