The PJ Tatler

District Court Finds Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration Unconstitutional

A federal court in the western district of Pennsylvania found parts of President Obama’s executive actions to legalize an estimate 4 to 5 million illegal immigrants unconstitutional.

In the case, United States of America v. Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, an illegal immigrant from Honduras argued that he shouldn’t be subject to deportation.

The Volokh Conspiracy sums up:

According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals.  As a consequence,  Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

…The procedural background of the case is somewhat unusual.  The case involves an individual who was deported and then reentered the country unlawfully. In considering how to sentence the defendant, the court sought supplemental briefing on the applicability of the new policies to the defendant, and whether these policies would provide the defendant with additional avenues for seeking the deferral of his deportation.  In this case, however, it’s not entirely clear it was necessary to reach the constitutional question to resolve the issues before the court with regard to the defendant’s sentence.

Here’s the court’s full ruling.

“Although this Court recognizes that the Memorandum providing the basis for the Executive Action on immigration has opined that the Executive branch can create such subcategories of undocumented immigrants, the Court has concerns that some familial bonds are treated differently than others,” the ruling states.

“…The Court holds that the Executive Action is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.”

“President Obama’s executive action is flat out unconstitutional. He’s clearly going beyond the president’s proper legal, constitutional authority,” Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said in response to the news. “Every president has executive power to provide details where statutes are silent. But that’s fundamentally different from taking action that is directly contrary to statute.”