25 states sue Obama over amnesty, but some states are silent

Twenty-five states are now part of a lawsuit challenging President Obama's lawless amnesty agenda. Filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas, the lawsuit asserts that the Obama administration overstepped its constitutional authority by granting work permits to millions of illegal aliens and promising them a reprieve from deportation. The states that have signed on to the lawsuit are arguing that "unilateral suspension of the Nation's immigration laws is unlawful" and that only the judiciary's "immediate intervention can protect the [states] from dramatic and irreparable injuries."

The lawsuit can be read in full, here.

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The states involved are: Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Just recently, 12 states and the District of Columbia filed a brief in the lawsuit in defense of Obama's lawless amnesty. Those signing on are: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia.

The pro-amnesty brief can be read in full, here.

This means that 37 states and the District of Columbia have weighed in on Obama's unilateral immigration actions but that 13 states remain on the sidelines. Likely, many of the governors and attorneys general in these 13 states are hoping that the media will not drag them into the immigration debate by asking why they are so unwilling to take a position. But the reality is that if Obama gets his way, millions of illegal aliens will be allowed to remain in the country and no state is immune from the effects of illegal immigration.

The silent states are: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wyoming.

It is unclear why the governors and attorneys general in these states are not weighing in, but it gives the media plenty of opportunity to ask questions of some key politicians.

For example, Vice President Biden should be asked why his state of Delaware hasn't come to the defense of the Obama administration.

Both Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), majority leader of the Senate, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, should be asked whether they think Kentucky should support the lawsuit. Kentucky's Attorney General Jack Conway (D) has just filed paperwork to run for the governorship, so he should also be asked to weigh in on why he hasn't acted and whether he would as governor.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, should also be asked why he hasn't participated in the lawsuit and whether he supports Obama's actions.

Interestingly, the governor of Wyoming did respond to a constituent who asked why he was not joining the multi-state lawsuit against Obama's lawless immigration actions. According to the constituent who wrote a letter to the editor of a Wyoming newspaper, Gov. Matt Mead's (R) office responded that the governor wasn't interested because it was a problem only for border states and that Wyoming has other priorities like dealing with wild horses.

Some governors and attorneys general might be unwilling to play a role in this lawsuit because although they support Obama's efforts and would like to file a supportive brief, they can't politically because they know Obama's amnesty is unpopular with their constituents. Others may simply not understand that immigration policy affects their state. More questions from journalists and constituents are necessary.

UPDATE: On Jan. 26, Nevada became the 26th state to join the lawsuit. An updated map can be viewed here.

Feere is the legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies.

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