Texas federal judge halts Obama's unilateral immigration action

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Mexican border residents and members of the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) protest the deportation of children, outside a detention center in Montana, Texas, August 24, 2014. The protesters walked for four days and 100 miles from southern New Mexico to west Texas, according to local media. The poster reads: "Don't deport children." | REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

AUSTIN, Texas (Christian Examiner) -- President Obama's executive action on immigration was halted late Monday, Feb. 16 after a Texas federal judge granted a temporary injunction allowing 26 states to pursue a lawsuit that permanently squashes the orders issued by the president in November deemed by some as an "overreach" of authority.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's ruling blocks the expansion of two programs, one of which was set to go into effect Feb. 18 called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA prevented the deportation of children brought to the United States illegally.

Fox News reported states in the South and Midwest represented in the law suit, in which Texas is the named Plaintiff, argue Obama violated the "Take Care Clause" of the U.S. Constitution, that limits the scope of presidential power.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, a non profit litigation, education and policy organization told the Christian Examiner he agreed.

"From a legal standpoint, President Obama has acted in way that he has no authority on this issue (because he) doesn't have the authority to bypass Congress and the will of the people," said Staver, who has authored various articles and books on constitutional law.

Staver added that the president's executive actions created a political "stalemate."

"Even if Congress passed the perfect immigration bill that addressed securing the borders, enforcing the laws and dealing with the people who are here illegally, they have no confidence that President Obama will enforce the whole thing and thus undermines the application and the implementation of the law (because) they are very concerned about presenting anything to President Obama for that reason alone, which is a legitimate concern," he said.

A statement by the press secretary on the White House website defended Obama's actions.

"The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws—which is exactly what the president did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system.

"Those policies are consistent with the laws passed by Congress and decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as five decades of precedent by presidents of both parties who have used their authority to set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws," the written statement declared.

Staver, however claimed Obama had gone "far beyond what any previous president has done" and his actions "elevate him to an authority that he has not been granted by the constitution."

This administration "acts as if they are completely unaccountable to the Constitution or to the people and certainly to the legislature," Staver added.

Judge Hanen ruled that without the injunction, the president's orders could cause more harm than good for the nation and its immigration system.

The L.A. Times reported that a memorandum accompanying the Hanen's order, stated the lawsuit should go forward because some states could "suffer irreparable harm."

"The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle," he wrote, calling the legalization of millions of people a "virtually irreversible" action.

Staver said he was thankful for Hansen's injunction against Obama's unilateral action.

"Our immigration system is fairly broken and it needs to be fixed. We need to secure our borders and enforce our laws and we need to deal justly and compassionately with those who are here illegally," Staver said.

"What president Obama has done by injecting himself in this issue by doing the executive order is completely bypass the rule of law and made this a political issue as opposed to a moral and national security issue. By doing so,[he] literally shuts down opportunity that exists for bipartisan approach to fix the immigration system, which is very unfortunate because those who always suffer are those who are in most need of having the immigration system fixed and at the end of the day our national security."