Senators file amicus brief over Obama immigration actions

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 5, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Forty-three senators have filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case challenging the Obama Administration’s immigration executive actions in support of an action by a majority of the nation’s governors and attorneys general of the states.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Forty-three senators have filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case challenging the Obama Administration’s immigration executive actions in support of an action by a majority of the nation’s governors and attorneys general of the states.

West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito is one of the senators who signed the brief.

The challenge is led by the state of Texas and the Supreme Court took up the case, known as United States of America vs. State of Texas, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction by a federal district court blocking the Obama Administration from moving forward with its executive actions on immigration that are in violation of federal law.

That affirmation was in November. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the case on April 18.

“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,’” the amicus brief states.

Such an action stands in stark contravention to federal law and to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, according to the brief.

“There is little doubt that the Executive adopted the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents … program as part of an explicit effort to circumvent the legislative process,” it states.

DAPA reflects an unmistakable effort to take action that is “incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress,” and correspondingly contravenes both the immigration laws and the Executive’s constitutional duty to Take Care that the laws be faithfully executed, according to the brief.

Rather than prioritizing resources to target the removal of certain aliens, DAPA is effectively a veto on Congressional authority to regulate immigration. Such an action cannot be justified on the grounds of “prosecutorial discretion.”

The senators who joined Capito on the amicus brief are Senators Lamar Alexander, John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Bill Cassidy, Daniel Coats, Thad Cochran, Bob Corker, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Michael Enzi, Deb Fischer, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, John Hoeven, James Inhofe, Johnny Isakson, Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Mike Lee, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, David Perdue, James Risch, Pat Roberts, M. Michael Rounds, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott, Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby, Daniel Sullivan, John Thune, Thom Tillis, David Vitter, and Roger Wicker.

The senators are represented by Steven A. Engel, Joshua D.N. Hess and Paul C. Kingsbery of Dechert LLP.

U.S. Supreme Court case number: 15-674

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