A federal appeals court on Monday rejected President Barack Obama’s effort to move forward with a series of executive actions that would have given millions of illegal immigrants legal status and work permits in the United States. With the president’s executive action rebuffed by the courts twice now, more tactical offensives and executive overreach can be expected from the administration to meet the president’s goals.
The 2-1 ruling from the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit is a defeat for the Obama Administration, but one that may have come just in the nick of time to give the Supreme Court the chance to revive Obama’s attempt to make it easier for many immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally to live and work here.
Obama’s executive actions on immigration have been on hold since February when Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction to temporarily prevent the federal government from implementing Obama’s Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs.
The 5th Circuit agreed in March to hear the appeal, and the White House claimed to be bullish on its prospects.
“We feel very confident in the strength of the legal arguments,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in April.
The court’s opinion on Monday praised Hanen’s ruling, calling it “impressive and thorough.”
At the White House Press briefing Tuesday, Earnest told reporters, “We obviously continue to believe strongly in the legal power of the arguments we have been making for more than a year now about the importance of giving our law enforcement officials discretion to implement our immigration laws in a way that focuses on those who pose a genuine threat to our national security or our communities.”
That would be believable if the the administration wasn’t constantly releasing illegal immigrants with violent criminal records back into U.S. communities even as Republican congressmen and law enforcement officials petitioned the Obama administration to end the reckless policy.
“Despite the repeated attacks on American citizens by illegal aliens released from our jails, DHS refuses to stop freeing violent criminals who are in our country illegally,” Rep Matt Salmon (R., Ariz.) wrote in a letter to DHS in August.
As of last June, 121 murders had been directly attributed to the Obama administration’s catch and release policy.
Early last week, a leaked internal DHS memorandum emerged revealing the Obama administration’s plan to defy the federal court’s injunction on Obama’s amnesty initiative.
According to The Hill, DHS’s immigration policy makers held a “Regulations Retreat” last June to discuss “different options” for “open market Employment Authorization Document (EAD) regulatory changes.”
The internal memo reveals four options of varying expansiveness, with option 1 providing EADs to “all individuals living in the United States”, including illegal aliens, visa-overstayers, and H-1B guest-workers, while option 4 provides EADs only to those on certain unexpired non-immigrant visas. Giving EADs to any of the covered individuals, however, is in direct violation of Congress’s Immigration & Nationality Act and works to dramatically subvert our carefully wrought visa system.
Now that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has rendered its decision to deny the administration’s request to reverse the injunction, it will be crucial to closely watch how the administration moves forward.