14 states sue Obama over immigration actions

Fourteen states and four governors are challenging President Obama’s immigration executive actions in a new lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Texas Attorney General and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott (R) announced the legal challenge in a media conference. The suit frames Obama’s actions as an overreach that disregards the president’s role of upholding and enforcing laws.

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“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 in a statement. 

Obama decided in November to grant legal status and work permits to up to five million illegal immigrants and effectively delay the threat of deportation. Conservatives on Capitol Hill and around the country have condemned the president’s action. But while lawmakers have floated various responses, this marks the first tangible steps taken by opponents of the executive action.  

Abbott isn’t new to taking legal action against the president; he’s bragged about having sued Obama 30 times and has described suing Obama as his job. Elected governor in a landslide win over Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis, Abbott is scheduled to meet Obama at the White House Friday along with other incoming governors.

The lawsuit charges that Obama’s move flouts the Constitution’s Take Care Clause that tasks the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” It adds that the Department of Homeland Security didn’t follow its rule-making process before moving to implement the president’s order and that the action will “trigger a new wave of undocumented immigration.” The suit claims that the president’s previous executive order, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, “led directly to a flood of immigration across the Texas-Mexico border.”

The administration has repeatedly dismissed that charge and has argued that this summer’s influx in children migrating to the border had more to do with instability in some Central American countries.

The coalition of states includes Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. All but Nebraska and West Virginia have Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures.

Republican Govs. Phil Bryant (Miss.), Paul LePage (Maine), Patrick McCrory (N.C.) and Butch Otter (Idaho) signed on to the challenge individually, which was filed in a Texas federal court district.