Obama administration wants Supreme Court to approve its immigration plans

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court reporter

WASHINGTON, DC – A federal appeals court said President Barack Obama’s controversial executive actions on immigration — aimed at easing deportation threats for millions of undocumented immigrants — must remain blocked.

On Monday night, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court did not “abuse its discretion” when it said challengers to the law were likely to succeed in their claim that the programs were unlawful because they didn’t comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a law that sets forward how federal agencies can establish regulations.

The ruling is a loss for the President — who made immigration reform a key second-term initiative. The Department of Justice said Tuesday that it disagreed with the ruling and plans to seek review from the Supreme Court.

“The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow DHS to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children,” Justice Department Patrick Rodenbush said in a statement.

Under normal circumstances, in order for the Supreme Court to hear the case this term, briefing would have to be completed by mid-winter.

Texas and 25 other states had challenged the President’s authority to implement the programs.

“Immigrant families and their U.S. children have been waiting anxiously for the Fifth Circuit to rule,” said Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center. “We urge the DOJ to immediately ask the Supreme Court to review this erroneous decision.”

Details of the ruling

The 70-page opinion was penned by Judge Jerry E. Smith, a Ronald Reagan appointee, along with Judge Jennifer Elrod, who was appointed to the bench by George W. Bush.

Smith wrote, “Reviewing the district court’s order for abuse of discretion, we affirm the preliminary injunction because the states have standing; they have established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their procedural and substantive APA claims; and they have satisfied the other elements required for this injunction.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the ruling.

“Today, the Fifth Circuit asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else,” he said in a statement.

“Throughout this process, the Obama Administration has aggressively disregarded the constitutional limits on executive power, and Texas, leading a charge of 26 states, has secured an important victory to put a halt to the president’s lawlessness.”

The President’s plan

Obama unveiled the new policies to great fanfare last November with the aim to marshal government resources and advance public safety and national security goals.

As part of the roll out, the administration established a process — called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — to enable about 4.3 million otherwise removable undocumented immigrants to be eligible for work authorization and associated benefits.

The executive actions also expanded the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — a program that allows non citizens who were brought here as children to apply for work authorization and protection from deportation for three years.

Before the programs were slated to go into effect they were challenged by Texas and 25 other states. Republican governors argued the unilateral actions were unconstitutional, and that the administration also violated the APA.

DOJ lawyers countered that the actions were lawful and a “quintessential exercise of prosecutorial discretion” not subject to judicial review. They argued that Texas lacked the legal harm — or “standing” — necessary to bring the challenge.

Carolyn D. King, appointed to be bench by Jimmy Carter, wrote the dissent.

“There can be little doubt that Congress’s choices as to the level of funding for immigration enforcement have left DHS with difficult prioritization decisions,” she wrote.

She said, however, that “federal courts should not inject themselves into such matters of prosecutorial discretion.” She also criticized the majority for taking so long to issue its opinion. “There is no justification for that delay,” she said.

Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center, filed a brief on behalf of a bipartisan group of former members of Congress in support of the administration.

“The 5th Circuit majority misunderstands the discretion given to the executive under existing immigration law which the Supreme Court itself has explicitly recognized,” she said.

5 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply



  • Joe
    10 November 2015 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Illegal alien, DAPA,and DACA, you have 6 months to stay in the US. It will be a GOP President win, look what happened on last week election, a clean sweep victory for GOP. Winning issues is immigrations,US citizen/voters are in favor on deportation of all illegal alien.

    • Arbi
      11 November 2015 at 8:11 am - Reply

      poor Noz, this is the only hope he have, im sure he likes more to be back in his beloved country The Bangladesh…

      • noz
        12 January 2016 at 3:24 pm - Reply


  • Enigma
    12 November 2015 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Deporting five million or so illegals in California would really ease the strain on the infrastructure problems. The state has a water system for 20 millions but 40 millions are there , and since drivers licenses were issued to illegals the roads in the city are crowded beyond belief.

    We expect these overpaid, over-armed bureaucrats to deport illegals now, which is what they’re being paid to do…NOW.

    The easiest thing to do is start enforcing the laws on employers. E-Verify mandatory at all levels. No jobs they self-deport then the deportation force goes after the drug cartels and other criminals. Meanwhile take down the bird feeder.

    End birthright citizenship for anchor babies.
    End all welfare for illegal aliens or their anchors.
    No drivers licenses for illegal aliens.
    No schooling for the children of illegal aliens.
    No WIC/Food Stamps for illegal aliens or their anchors.
    No Jobs. E-Verify all workers past/present/future
    Tax remittances at 100%.
    No free medical care unless life saving.

    Add the enforcement mechanism for the list: Indictment, and if convicted, a mandatory prison term that is severe enough to act as a deterrent for anyone caught providing those services. I’ll start the bidding at 10 years with no parole.

    It is illegal to provide services (other than life-saving medical care) to illegal aliens. Do the crime, do the time. Throw out the criminals! Six million deported under Truman and Eisenhower.

    The entire business of having lawlessness living here breeds contempt for the law.

    I have NO sympathy for illegal criminals here. They MUST leave. WE MUST stop sympathizing with them and assigning them extra-lawful privileges. I would rather have a “force” devoted to scouring the country for illegals who don’t belong here than a “force” that literally terrorizes LEGAL citizens, and abuses their powers, at tax time.

    I’m sick and tired of having even one penny of my taxes go towards the care and feeding of illegals. Let THEIR country take care of them…and let them enter the country on OUR terms, NOT THEIRS. That is if we even decide to admit them in the first place.

    12 November 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Hell with Obama, he’s the first leader of our great country America, broke the rules like helping “ILLEGAL PEOPLE.” Tell me why a black man first time as leader of our great country does that, is he “NUTS.” That’s OK he will be done as our leader in a few months and I will never vote for a black man again never again to be our leader of our great country. I think blacks don’t have any brains only good in playing sports?