The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has ruled against President Obama and upheld a lower court ruling against his executive amnesty. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who began the 26-state lawsuit as the state attorney general, called it a “vindication for the rule of law and the Constitution.”
“President Obama should abandon his lawless executive amnesty program and start enforcing the law today,” Abbott said in a news release.
The 2-1 decision by the appeals-court panel has made permanent a Texas judge’s injunction against the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shielded young illegal immigrants from deportation if their parents brought them to the U.S. as children.
JUST IN: 5th Circuit affirms District Court injunction against Obama's executive amnesty. Another win for TX.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) November 10, 2015
“Today’s ruling is not a surprise but is still a disappointment. We have understood from the beginning of this politically driven lawsuit that the case would likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, an open borders pro illegal immigration group. “We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to waste no time in filing an appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said, adding that “anti-immigrant conservative politicians … are to blame.”
The 70-page majority opinion by Judge Jerry Smith, joined by Jennifer Walker Elrod, rejected administration arguments that the district judge abused his discretion with a nationwide order and that the states lacked standing to challenge Obama’s executive orders. The court not only ruled that the president did not have the power to unilaterally change immigration law, but also that the financial burden to the states was unduly placed on them by the executive order. However, the court did acknowledged the administration’s argument that an adverse ruling would discourage cooperation with law enforcement or paying taxes.
“But those are burdens that Congress knowingly created, and it is not our place to second-guess those decisions,” Judge Smith wrote in the majority opinion.
The Fifth Circuit in May also ruled to uphold the injunction against President Obama’s executive amnesty handed down in February by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen. In another 2-1 decision, the court rejected the administration’s argument and ruled the president could not move forward with deferred deportation and additional benefits for at least 5 million illegal, undocumented immigrants. Justices Jerry Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod denied the stay, stating in an opinion authored by Smith that the administration is unlikely to succeed on the merits of the case. Judge Stephen Higginson dissented.
“We cannot control the courts, but we will have a say in political outcomes,” Monterroso said. “It is now up to us — Latino voters and groups like ours that are working every day to grow our vote in the 2016 national election — to elect candidates who respect our communities and will commit to working on our issues and treating us fairly.”
Still, despite Monterroso’s desire to take the case to the Supreme Court, the fact remains that Obama’s executive amnesty is now 0-5 in the courts. The president, himself, as many news outlets have noted, on at least 23 different occasions conceded he did not have the authority to unilaterally grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Thus far, the administration hasn’t argued in front of a court that agrees, and the high courts schedule this session in extremely stacked.
“Because the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction, we deny the motion for stay and the request to narrow the scope of the injunction,” the judges wrote.
Prior to the ruling, and despite assurances by top administration officials to the contrary, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services began reallocating significant resources away from a computer system — known as the “Electronic Immigration System” — in order to send letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election.
A newly obtained document (viewable on a previous article) written by Leon Rodriguez, the “director and co-chair of the Task Force on New Americans,” details an “integration plan that will advance our nation’s global competitiveness and ensure that the people who live in this country can fully participate in their communities.”
“The last time I checked, injunctions are not mere suggestions. They are not optional,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “This disregard for the court’s action is unacceptable and disturbing, especially after Secretary Johnson’s assurances that his agency would honor the injunction.”
Executive amnesty has also been losing in the court of public opinion, as well. As PPD has previously examined, particularly in the case of immigration, the results get worse when the question is asked more plainly. We have examined and explained the data on this topic in great detail in the past, but most voters still oppose President Obama’s executive order to exempt millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. A solid 59% say Obama does not have that legal power to issue the order, which is up from 52% in February and a new high to date.
Further, only 35% favor the president’s actions, which is little changed from 5 months ago, and only 25% believe the president has the legal authority to grant executive amnesty without the approval of Congress. A nearly identical number of voters (26%) say Obama should take action if Congress doesn’t lay down in front of him on the issue.
The states suing Obama over his unilateral amnesty order now include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.