Published on:

Senate Republicans File Brief to Protest President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration

flag47After Texas and more than two dozen Republican-controlled states blocked an executive action by the Obama administration providing immigration relief to millions of undocumented immigrants who are also parents of naturalized citizens and permanent residents, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the case in two weeks time. In the meantime, 43 Senate Republicans have filed an amicus brief in an effort to support the states responsible for challenging the White House.

The brief was filed on April 4, Monday, supporting 27 states, their governors and attorney generals, all of whom are protesting the President’s executive action called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), first announced in November 2014. The Supreme Court picked up the case, now known as United States v. Texas, after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained a preliminary injunction against the proposed DAPA program.

Understanding DAPA

Widely considered the centerpiece of the president’s second term in office, DAPA can be interpreted as an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, providing deportation relief to certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before January 1, 2010, allowing them to apply for deferred action through legal channels.

DACA protects immigrant children who arrived in the United States before turning 16, while DAPA allows parents of naturalized citizens and permanent residents to stay in the country, helping keep law-abiding families together.

Violation of Separation of Powers

In their amicus brief, Senate Republicans complained the program is a clear violation of the separation of powers, making changes to existing immigration laws in a manner that should be limited to the purview of Congress.

The brief explains, “The executive has a constitutional duty to faithfully execute the immigration laws and, in so doing, may implement rules for the administration of those laws. Yet Congress has never given the executive unchecked discretion to rewrite federal immigration policy or to fashion its own immigration code.”

The brief argues further that the president overstepped the powers of his office, pushing DAPA after failing to compel lawmakers to pass immigration legislation that would give legal status to undocumented immigrants.

The brief continues, “In response, just two weeks after American voters elected a majority of Republicans in both the House and the Senate in the November 2014 election, the president abandoned his effort to persuade the voters’ elected representatives of the wisdom of his position, and instead chose to implement his policy preferences by the extra-constitutional assertion of a unilateral executive power.”

House Democrats, however, accuse Republicans of blocking a program that provides common sense solutions to the growing problem of immigration. Rather than detain and deport law-abiding undocumented immigrants, DAPA allows immigration authorities to focus their efforts on securing borders and removing immigrants who have just crossed the border.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case on April 18.

To learn more about how the upcoming Supreme Court ruling will affect your immigrant rights, talk to the legal team at Lyttle Law Firm today. Schedule a consult by calling our offices at 512-215-5225 or by visiting our website.