Tags: Gomez | immigration | Berg | court

More Perspectives on Immigration Decision

By    |   Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 07:54 AM

With another day having passed since a federal district court in Brownsville, Texas, enjoined the Obama administration from implementing its executive plan to enable large numbers of immigrants to live, work and eventually vote in the United States, more experts are evaluating the implications of the decision and enlivening an otherwise desultory week as legislators work out of their home offices rather than in Washington.

USA Today Reporter Alan Gomez appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to discuss the implications of the court injunction, and Washington Examiner Political Correspondent Rebecca Berg talked about the dispute over funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is scheduled to expire on Feb. 27, the first week after Congress returns.

Both journalists were interviewed by host Greta Wodele Brawner, who began by asking Gomez what the grounds are for the suit by the 26 states. He responded that President Obama had announced last November that he would act to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation for three years, expanding a program that already covers 600,000 children. The states are resisting because they would have to bear the cost. (Conservatives with moderately long memories would recognize this as an "unfunded mandate.")

Brawner posted a statement by the lead plaintiff, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), asserting that "We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the president's attempt to bypass the will of the American people was successfully checked today." She asked why the case was brought in that particular court.

Gomez replied that immigration advocates would answer that it was due to forum shopping, that the plaintiffs knew the judge had been critical of the president and the DHS in the past, and there was a 50 percent chance they would get that judge. Gomez added that the ruling turned on the inherent subsidy of about $170 for each driver's license the state would issue, since the $26 charge covers only part of the actual cost. Gomez emphasized that the ruling is not on the merits but merely a temporary injunction to stay the implementation of the program until the case can be heard.

The case now goes to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled in the past that the federal government has exclusive authority over immigration. This writer would point out that the case could go to the Supreme Court based on the significance of the matter or, eventually, to resolve a conflict among the circuits, but it could take years for the case to ripen if the Court waited for a number of circuits to opine. Gomez ventured that the delay would give Obama more time to deflect criticism from immigrants that he was becoming the "Deporter in Chief."

Berg predicted that rather than turn down the pressure for legislative action through an amendment to an authorization to fund DHS, her conversations with Republicans indicate that they feel more empowered and more inclined to push for a legislative limit on Obama's power, and Democrats are confident that Republicans will be blamed if the stalemate continues.

(Archived video for Gomez's appearance can be found here and for Berg's, here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
Another day has passed since a federal district court in Brownsville, Texas, enjoined the Obama administration from implementing its executive plan to enable large numbers of immigrants to live, work and eventually vote in the United States.
Gomez, immigration, Berg, court
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2015-54-19
Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 07:54 AM
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