Executive Actions ‘A Stark Contravention To Federal Law’ & ‘An Explicit Effort To Circumvent The Legislative Progress’ On Immigration

Even President Obama Admits His Scheme Is ‘Very Difficult To Defend Legally’


PRESIDENT OBAMA: “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed… The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.” (President Obama, Univision Townhall, 3/28/11)


43 SENATORS: DAPA ‘Stands In Stark Contravention To Federal Law,’ And Is ‘Part Of An Explicit Effort To Circumvent The Legislative Process,’ ‘The Judgment Of The Court Of Appeals Should Be Affirmed’

43 SENATORS In An Amicus Brief Filed Today: “There is little doubt that the Executive adopted the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (‘DAPA’) program as part of an explicit effort to circumvent the legislative process.” (United States v. Texas, Amici On Behalf Of U.S. Senators, 4/4/16)

  • ‘The President … chose to implement his policy preferences by the extra-constitutional assertion of a unilateral executive power’ “Prior to issuing DAPA, the President had repeatedly ‘push[ed] for legislation’ to alter the immigration laws by, among other things, granting legal status to the vast majority of the 11 million aliens illegally present in the United States. The President ultimately proved unsuccessful, however, in persuading Congress to enact any of those proposals. 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.” (United States v. Texas, Amici On Behalf Of U.S. Senators, 4/4/16)
  • “Given that the Executive has asserted that the acts challenged here are not even subject to judicial review, what is at stake in this matter is nothing less than an effort to supplant Congress’s constitutional power to ‘establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.’ U.S. Const. art. I, § 8. Such an action stands in stark contravention to federal law and to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers.” (United States v. Texas, Amici On Behalf Of U.S. Senators, 4/4/16)

5TH CIRCUIT COURT: ‘The [Immigration And Nationality Act] Flatly Does Not Permit The Reclassification Of Millions Of Illegal Aliens As Lawfully Present’

5th Circuit Court of Appeals: “The interpretation of those provisions that the Secretary [of Homeland Security] advances would allow him to grant lawful presence and work authorization to any illegal alien in the United States—an untenable position in light of the [Immigration and Nationality Act]’s intricate system of immigration classifications and employment eligibility.  Even with ‘special deference’ to the Secretary, the INA flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as  lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization.” (State Of Texas Et Al. Versus United States Et Al., United States Court Of Appeals For The Fifth Circuit, Case No. 15-40238, 11/25/2015)

DISTRICT COURT: ‘The DHS Secretary Is Not Just Rewriting The Laws; He Is Creating Them From Scratch’

U.S. District Court: “The Government has pointed this Court to no law that gives the [Department of Homeland Security] such wide-reaching discretion to turn 4.3 million individuals from one day being illegally in the country to the next day having lawful presence. The DHS’ job is to enforce the laws Congress passes and the President signs...  [N]o statute gives the DHS the discretion it is trying to exercise here. Thus, Defendants are without express authority to do so by law, especially since by Congressional Act, the DAPA recipients are illegally present in this country.” (State Of Texas Et Al. V. United States Et Al., United States District Court For The Southern District Of Texas, 2/16/2015)


DEM SENATORS: ‘Frankly Am Concerned About The Constitutional Separation Of Powers’

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “I disagree with the president’s decision to use executive action to make changes to our immigration system...” (CBS News, 11/20/14)

  • MANCHIN: “I also agree with my Republican colleagues that President Obama should not have executed action—he should not have used his Executive action to make changes in our immigration system.” (Sen. Manchin, Congressional Record, S.729, 2/3/15)

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): “I also frankly am concerned about the constitutional separation of powers. You know, the Constitution says that the Congress makes the law and the president executes it. It's a very clear division. The Framers knew what they were doing and it doesn't say if the president gets frustrated and Congress doesn't act, he gets to do, you know, what he thinks is important for the country.” (“Sen. Angus King: Executive Action On Immigration Could Backfire,” NPR, 11/19/14)

SEN. JOE DONNELLY (D-IN): “It is clear the immigration system in this country is broken, and only Congress has the ability to change the law to fix it. … the President shouldn’t make such significant policy changes on his own.” (Sen. Donnelly, Press Release, 11/20/14)

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): “Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she supported comprehensive immigration reform but was concerned by Obama's plan. ‘I have to be honest, how this is coming about makes me uncomfortable, I think it probably makes most Missourians uncomfortable.’” (“Some Senate Democrats Balk At Obama's Unilateral Immigration Approach,” Reuters, 11/19/14)

  • MCCASKILL: “Yes, I said it. I am uncomfortable with the President issuing Executive orders such as this—no matter what party it is, no matter who the President is.” (Sen. McCaskill, Congressional Record, S.724, 2/3/15)

SEN. HEIDI HEITKAMP (D-ND): “I’m disappointed the president decided to use executive action at this time on this issue, as it could poison any hope of compromise or bipartisanship in the new Senate before it has even started. It’s Congress’ job to pass legislation and deal with issues of this magnitude.” (“Obama Fails To Convince Some Dems On Immigration,” Politico, 11/20/14)

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MN): “I have concerns about executive action. ... This is a job for Congress…” (“More Senate Democrats Urge President Obama To Delay Immigration Order,” Politico, 9/5/14)



PRESIDENT OBAMA: ‘I’m Not The Emperor,’ Bypassing Congress ‘Not How Democracy Works’

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words…’” (“Obama Seeks A Course Of Pragmatism In The Middle East,” The New York Times, 3/11/11)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed. And Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system.” (President Obama, Google Hangout, 2/14/13)

  • OBAMA: “…if we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally.” (President Obama, Remarks, 9/17/13)




Related Issues: Immigration, Senate Democrats, Executive Orders, Supreme Court