4 Dec 2014

17 states sue Obama for executive order on immigration: Texas attorney general

A coalition of 17 U.S. states sued the Obama administration on Wednesday saying it acted illegally by issuing an executive order to ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants who are in the country without the proper documents.

The case being led by Texas and filed at the Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas said the executive order announced by Obama last month violated constitutional limits on presidential powers. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican and the Texas governor-elect, said the lawsuit is not asking for monetary damages but is seeking to have the order declared illegal.

The White House has said the executive order falls within presidential powers, and has argued that the ultimate answer is for Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform.

 President Barack Obama's plan would let up to 4.7 million of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States stay without threat of deportation, including some 4.4 million who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

"The President is abdicating his responsibility to faithfully enforce laws that were duly enacted by Congress and attempting to rewrite immigration laws, which he has no authority to do," Abbott said.

Many of the states in the coalition are Republican strongholds and include Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi and Utah.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, said his state joined the legal effort because "the president has exceeded the balance of power provisions clearly laid out in the U.S. Constitution."

Abbott said that as a border state Texas has sustained millions of dollars in costs related to illegal immigration.

Separately, some conservative Republicans in Congress are hoping to thwart Obama's immigration action by tying it to a must-pass government spending bill, although the Republican leadership wants to avert a government shutdown over the issue.

Conservatives stand firm against funding for immigration order

Conservative Republicans resisted a plan to avert a budget fight over President Obama's immigration order, raising the likelihood that the spending struggle in Congress could last right up to the Dec. 11 deadline for a government shutdown.

Tea Party lawmakers stood firm against House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner's plan to pass a spending bill keeping most of the government running through September 2015 and postponing the battle over immigration until early next year, when Republicans take control of the Senate and expand their House majority.

That opposition could force Boehner once again to seek Democratic support to pass his spending proposal and avert a shutdown after the government's spending authority expires. Republican leaders are desperate to avoid that after a 16-day shutdown a year ago inflicted heavy political damage on the party.

The small but unruly band of conservatives, who have been a persistent headache for Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, said there was no reason to wait until next year to try to deny funding for Obama's order.

"Congress should stand up and use the power of the purse," said Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He and others argue that Obama's announcement last month that he was using executive powers to ease the threat of deportation for up to 4.7 million undocumented immigrants amounts to an illegal amnesty.

Read More:http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-texas-sues-obama-immigration-20141203-story.html#page=1

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