In an effort to block President Obama’s plan to enact immigration relief programs that will benefit millions of undocumented immigrants, U.S. House Republicans won a majority vote that will challenge the administration in an upcoming legal sortie at the Supreme Court.
In a rare but expected move, a GOP-controlled house voted 234-186 to allow House Speaker Paul Ryan to submit an amicus brief, which contains the House’s opposing arguments, stated as the official view of House of Representatives.
Immigration Groups Reaction
Not surprisingly, immigration groups and advocates voiced their displeasure over the vote. The resolution did not receive any votes from Democrats in the House, and even five Republican legislators—Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida; Rep. Bob Dold of Illinois, and Rep. Richard Hanna of New York—opposed the vote.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments next month concerning the administrations’ appeal of a lower court ruling blocking President Obama’s executive action. Widely considered the centerpiece of his second term in office, the initiative expands the provisions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), granting protection to undocumented immigrant parents with U.S. citizenship or legal resident status. If approved, both programs would defer deportation to millions of immigrants, allowing them to acquire, among other things, driver’s licenses and jobs.
Reason for Appeal
The Obama administration is appealing a lower court decision stemming from a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other (mostly GOP-controlled) states.
Ryan commented on the significance and rarity of the House vote, and reiterated it’s not about their agreement or disagreement with a certain policy, but about protecting the integrity of the constitution, echoing concerns by other House Republicans on how the president was overstepping his executive authority and breaching the separation of powers.
According to the speaker, the legislative branch is the only branch of government allowed to write laws, not the executive branch, and not a group of unelected bureaucrats who can’t be held accountable.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra criticized the GOP effort to file the amicus brief.
Democrats also filed a brief of their own earlier this month, signed by 186 congressional representatives and 39 senators. Becerra slammed Republicans for wasting their time and taxpayer money with a vote he says is part of an effort to push a partisan agenda and improve the party’s position in U.S. vs. Texas. He adds the GOP’s actions drag American tax dollars into a fight that most Americans support—finding a fundamental solution to fix the country’s ineffective immigration laws.
Becerra further added that Congress doesn’t even need the involvement of the Supreme Court to change legislation.
If you or anyone you know is an immigrant that stands to benefit from the president’s executive action, and wonder how this upcoming hearing will affect your circumstances, learn more by calling Lyttle Law Firm today. Schedule a consult by calling our offices at 512-215-5225 or by visiting our website.