In a second and arguably more decisive ruling against President Barack Obama’s Executive Amnesty for illegal aliens this week, a three-judge panel on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court injunction against the implementation of the president’s plan to grant amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants because he lacked the constitutional authority to do so.
As a practical matter, the court’s decision does not stop President Obama from “deferring” the deportation of illegal immigrants in the United States but does stop him from issuing green cards or work papers to those here illegally.
The court’s decision also prevents the president from granting illegal immigrants access to public benefit programs that include food stamps, Medicaid and other social safety net programs.
The decision comes following a U.S. Justice Department request that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverse a decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas who issued a temporary injunction against the implementation of the president’s plan on February 16 after 26 states filed a lawsuit alleging Obama’s action was unconstitutional.
The U.S. Justice Department has not said if it will appeal the panel’s decision to the full appeals court in New Orleans or to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Texas, which has taken the lead among the 26 states opposing “Executive Amnesty”, has argued that President Obama acted outside his authority when he issued his order to award amnesty to illegal immigrants and that the changes would force the states to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education.
The White House proffered the excuse for “Executive Amnesty” by saying that Congress would not fix a “broken immigration system” so he would – an argument the court didn’t buy.
The Justice Department argued that upholding Judge Hanen’s temporary injunction would interfere with the Homeland Security Department’s ability to manage the illegal immigration crisis through the exercise of discretionary power of the executive branch to set policy, not the states.
The president has been accused of playing fast and loose with the discretion allowed him by the court when he issued 108,000 green cards and working papers to illegals in violation of Hanen’s order. The president said the credentials where issued under a separate amnesty he issued in November 2014. While it was within Judge Hanen’s authority to sanction Justice Department lawyers for the breach of trust, he chose not to.
The first order, which was set to take effect on February 18, was issued according to President Obama to protect young illegal immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The second order was issued to extend deportation protections to illegal parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents that had been scheduled to begin on May 19.
The states involved in the litigation in addition to Texas 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.