Federal Lawsuit Could Stop Obama's Amnesty Before It Starts

Conn Carroll
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Posted: Dec 08, 2014 1:45 PM
Federal Lawsuit Could Stop Obama's Amnesty Before It Starts

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) filed a motion in federal court Friday which could allow a federal court to stop President Obama's executive amnesty before it starts.

The motion filed by Abbott, who is also the governor-elect of Texas, asks the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, to issue a preliminary injunction halting the new immigration program Obama announced on November 20, 2014.

"The President has turned the Constitution on its head by suggesting that he has legislative powers and that Congress has veto powers that must be exercised to thwart his executive actions," the motion reads. "This is not how our system works. The constitutional separation of powers requires Congress to pass a law and the President to execute it; the President can no more pass his own laws (or "execute" nonexistent ones) than Congress can exercise the veto or pardon powers."

Preliminary Burdens
To prevail on a motion for preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must establish four things: 1) that he is likely to succeed on the merits; 2) that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm without preliminary relief; 3) that the balance of equities or in his favor; and 4) that an injunction is in the public interest.

The full motion can be read here, and relies heavily on Obama's own statements, as well as statements from his political allies, to show that the plaintiffs meet all four criteria. Specifically,  the motion notes that not only did Obama previously say his new deferred action program was beyond his powers, but even after he announced it he admitted his plan was "an action to change the law."

Plaintiffs also note it will be "difficult or impossible to undo the President's lawlessness after the Defendants start granting deferred action" since Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has promised to "have hundreds of thousands, if not millions [of people] with their documents, ready to submit them" as soon as the program is open.

Democratic mayors from across the country are also coordinating with the White House to make sure as many illegal immigrants as possible are ready to claim amnesty as soon as Obama's program is up and running. "The mayors, city and federal officials are expected to brainstorm best practices on informing immigrant populations that they may be eligible to receive the new benefits, and notifying them of the types of paperwork needed throughout the application process," MSNBC reports.

Democrats have plenty of time to organize illegal immigrants before Obama's amnesty opens for business. According to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services website, the agency charged with implementing the new program, applications for amnesty will not be accepted until "approximately 180 days following the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement."

That means a court has until about June 1st of 2015 to issue an order blocking the new amnesty. The motion asks for a hearing before the court before December 31, 2014.

"Likely To Succeed On The Merits Of Their Claim"
In 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers sued to try and stop Obama's first executive amnesty, the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. While the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas later found that the border agents "were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim," the court ultimately determined that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue DHS since the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 already established an administrative process for resolving disputes between federal employees and their employer.

But the plaintiffs in this new suit, more than 15 states, are claiming a completely different set of harms. Not only do they now have a DHS commissioned study admitting that Obama's DACA program helped cause a humanitarian crisis at the border, but multiple reports show that said crisis also strained state budgets nationwide.

"The states’ make a strong argument for a preliminary injunction to stop the administration from implementing Obama’s immigration amnesty," Heritage Foundation legal scholar Hans von Spakovsky told Townhall. "DHS is already hiring 1,000 new employees for a massive new operational center to process applications and hand out millions of work permits. Without an injunction while this case is being heard, it will be almost impossible for the court to reverse what the administration does if it eventually rules in favor of the states.”