Yesterday some of Congress’s highest-ranking Republicans entered the legal fight over President Obama’s executive action to protect undocumented immigrants illegally residing in the United States from deportation. 26 states led by Texas have taken the administration to court over the action, which they claim is unconstitutional and exceeds the president’s authority.
Now a number of leading Republicans ‒ including Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader ‒ have come out in support of the states’ lawsuit, claiming that Obama’s executive action creates a new policy and changes existing laws, upsetting the current balance of power and exceeding the constitutional authority of the president.
“Congress has created a comprehensive immigration scheme, which expresses its desired policy as to classes of immigrants, but the class identified by the [Homeland Security Department] directive for categorical relief is unsupported by this scheme,” says the amicus brief written by the lawmakers and filed at New Orleans’ 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. “Instead of setting enforcement priorities, it created a class-based program that establishes eligibility requirements that, if met, grant unlawful immigrants a renewable lawful presence in the United States and substantive benefits.”
113 Republicans endorsed the brief, including senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and representatives Trey Gowdy and Homeland Security Committee head Michael McCaul. Cruz, a 2016 presidential hopeful, says that the president has committed an unlawful act by giving amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants.