The number of states who have joined the lawsuit against President Obama has risen to 24. That means that half of the states in the United States have decided that they believe that the Executive Action towards immigration reform that the President has taken, is unlawful. These states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The lawsuit, which will take place in the U.S. Federal District Court system has been assigned to Judge Andrew Hanan. This is not good news for the President, as Judge Hanan, who was appointed by former President George W Bush in 2002, has been highly critical of the President’s immigration policies.
In a decision last year, Judge Hanan blamed the Department of Homeland Security, for reuniting a young woman from El Salvador who crossed the border illegally to join her mother in the United States, instead of returning her to her home county when the girl was encountered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. He called the agency’s decision “dangerous and unconscionable.” Judge Hanan reprimanded the Department of Homeland Security and accused the agency of conspiring with the individuals who illegally smuggled the girl into the United States by reuniting her with her mother, instead of enforcing the immigration laws and deporting her.
Not coincidentally, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed the lawsuit in South Texas, one of the areas in the United States with the largest percentage of undocumented individuals. This particular area was chosen because it is located at the center of where border security is of the utmost concern. It is also not a secret that Judge Hanan is one of the two judges who could have been assigned the case against the President. His alliance with the Republican Party and outspoken opinion on the immigration policies of President Obama is most likely the reason the suit was filed where it was.
The lawsuit charges that the President’s initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA was unlawful and prompted the surge of unaccompanied children and families across the Texas border last summer. The suit alleges that the continued immigration benefits being afforded will only lead to further illegal immigration into the U.S. and that the states are being unduly harmed by the burden of these undocumented individuals.
This is the 31st lawsuit that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed against President Obama. AG Abbott is also governor-elect of the state where he will follow Rick Perry, who has been presiding as governor for the past 12 years. It is clear that AG Abbott opposes much of what President Obama has tried to put forward in his efforts at immigration reform under his tenure. What is unclear is whether the lawsuit has standing and if the states can prove specific harm on account of the President’s initiative.
The White House, on the other hand, continues to maintain that the President has acted within his authority by putting forth his Executive Order on immigration reform by determining which undocumented individuals are a priority for deportation or removal. The White House insists that the federal government does not have the resources necessary to enforce the deportation of the estimated 11 million undocumented individuals presently residing in the United States. The new initiative is a plan that solves part of the current immigration crisis.