Arizona Joins in Lawsuit Challenging Obama Immigration Action

Posted by Matthew Green | Dec 08, 2014 | 0 Comments

Losing legal challenge after legal challenge does not seem to have deterred Arizona Governor Jan Brewer from opposing the federal government's immigration policy changes. Just this last week, Brewer was denied a reconsideration of her executive action which denies driver's licenses to DREAMers.  Now, Arizona has joined with Texas and a number of states to sue the Obama administration over the executive immigration orders.

Texas is spearheading a coalition which has filed a lawsuit against President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration changes. The lawsuit argues that Obama's executive action is unconstitutional, and warns that it will worsen the crisis at the border.  Of the 18 states joining in the lawsuit, the only southern border states represented are Arizona and Texas.

Republican Governor Jan Brewer issued a statement saying the White House administration has, “deliberately ignored the will of the American people.”  Brewer's statement continued, citing Arizona's status as a “border state bearing the brunt of our nation's broken immigration system – a crisis exacerbated by the President's reckless immigration policies and refusal to enforce the law – our state and our citizens have had enough.”

We reported on Gov. Brewer's challenge to the 9th Circuit Court ruling which blocked the state's policy denying driver's licenses to immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. That request to reconsider was denied, with this comes after a number of other state laws have been struck down by higher courts, including denying bail to immigrants and the immigrant smuggling law.

Immigrant activist do not appear surprised by the governor's actions.  Executive Director of Promise Arizona, Petra Falcon, expressed disappointment.  Promise Arizona is an advocate for immigration reform. “Obviously the governor has always attacked the immigrant community,” said Falcon.  Given the recent challenges to Arizona's immigration policy, Falcon has suggested the lawsuit will be a further waste of the taxpayer money, and has little chance of success.

Falcon has suggested the lawsuit sends a negative message to the Latino community.  Even those within the Republican party appear divided over how to appeal to the growing block of Latino voters, while appealing to the more conservative base.  Meanwhile, the House appears to be making similar symbolic, but not likely successful, moves to announce their opposition of the president's actions.  House Republicans could vote on a measure to undo the reforms, but there is almost no chance of it even making it to the president's desk, which would face a veto.

The lawsuit was announced by Republican Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott.  Abbott has argued that the president's order, “requires federal agencies to award legal benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the priorities of Congress.”  However, Congresses only priority when it comes to immigration reform may be to delay action as long as possible. It has been more than 18-months since the Senate passed the McCain-Flake bipartisan immigration bill, yet the House of Representatives has never taken up the bill.

The state officials filing the suit have argued that this lawsuit is not about immigration, but rather calling into question the president's power, and constitutional limits.  They have claimed the policy changes trample the Constitution.  The White House has expressed confidence that the executive actions are within his legal authority.

About the Author

Matthew Green

Managing Attorney. The Law Offices of Matthew H. Green focuses on the aggressive defense of immigrants. A native of Arizona, Mr. Green understands the difficulties that immigrants and families of immigrants face when a loved one is charged with a crime. He knows how frightening it can be for some...

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