Obama’s Immigration Executive Action under Congressional Attack, but 12 States Defend the Policy
On January 14, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 236-191 to overturn Obama’s Executive Action Policy that calls for deferred deportation of millions of immigrants currently in the United States. The underlying bill passed mostly on a party-line vote, with 10 Republicans voting against it and two Democrats voting in favor.
The House bill calls for cutting Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as the announced temporary deportation relief for parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The bill heads to the Senate, where even a Republican-controlled setting may not garner the 60 votes needed to pass the bill, much less for it to survive a Presidential veto.
The House bill comes on the heels of the December 2014 federal lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General/Governor-Elect Greg Abbot challenging the validity and constitutionality of the Executive Action policy. This lawsuit claims Obama’s policy constitutes executive overreach and, thus, is unconstitutional and unenforceable. Since its submission, a total of 25 states have joined the lawsuit. However, a significant number of states have filed a friend-of-the-court brief voicing their favor of the policy.
The brief, filed by Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson, was joined by 12 states, including California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., and New York. The brief states that the Executive Action is well within the President’s authority as he is allowed to set deportation enforcement priorities. Further, it states that the benefit of such policy far outweighs the harm, declaring the economic impact and tax revenues alone could increase GDP (gross domestic product) from $90 billion to $210 billion. Additionally, the brief states that such policy improves public safety and keeps families together; which ultimately benefits the public interest.