Obama’s Immigration Legacy on Hold
By Brad Botwin
Presidente Barack Obama and groups looking to legalize millions of illegal aliens, such as CASA de Maryland, were dealt another setback in the courts May 26. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the administration’s attempt to let millions of illegal aliens remain in the United States and receive driver licenses and work permits.
The policy “is the affirmative act of conferring ‘lawful presence’ on a class of unlawfully present aliens,” U.S. Circuit Court Judge Jerry Smith wrote in his 68-page decision. “Though revocable, that new designation triggers eligibility for federal and state benefits that would not otherwise be available.”
The decision neither kills Obama’s so-called amnesty scheme, nor does it settle the president’s request for a hearing on temporary hold placed on the Obama’s executive order on immigration. The appeals court decision is in response to a challenge by the White House in February. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen placed a temporary injunction on the president’s order to expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and create the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program.
Smith stated that Hanen’s injunction will remain in place because the administration is “unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal.” Texas successfully established that it would incur a financial burden if it was required to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants who qualified for deportation protections under Obama’s deferred-action program. He was joined by Judge Jennifer Elrod. Judge Stephen Higginson, an Obama, appointee, sided with the Justice Department.
The White House declared the judges, Smith, a Reagan, and Elrod, a W. appointee, were wrong in their reading of the law. The pair “chose to misinterpret the facts and the law in denying the government’s request for a stay” on the temporary hold placed on the president’s immigration executive action, administration spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said.
CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres must have anticipated the setback on May 18 when he faced a crowd of protesters. “We will not stop demanding justice for thousands of families who still live in the shadows,” he said. “It is unacceptable that our families have to live in fear of deportation, to be separated from their families and still are a vital component to our economy, our society, our home and our nation.”
The problem for would-be immigration reformers is that the law does not represent their vision of America. U.S. citizenship still means something, in the courts at least. Consequently this argument is a farce.
The administration asked the appeals court to confine the injunction to Texas, Virginia and the other 24 states that challenged Obama’s EO. The irony was not lost on John Feere, legal analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies. “This is ironic in that it is the Obama administration that has often complained about a ‘patchwork’ of immigration laws across the country.”
The administration can now appeal to either the full appeals court in New Orleans or to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the president opts for the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia could decide whether to accept the case or pass it on to the group of nine to decide.
This article has previously appeared on the HelpSaveMaryland site and examiner.com.