Tags: Johnson | immigration | administration | Democrats

Federal Court Blocks Administration's Immigration Plan

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 07:48 AM

Sometimes significant legal and regulatory developments occur when Congress is not in session, often during year-end holiday periods. Perhaps the decision by a federal district judge in Texas to invalidate President Obama's Executive Order on immigration, which came down while Congress was in recess and Washington mired in a winter blizzard, is such an event. Or maybe it is just another marker in a long march to an unknown policy destination.

Yogi Berra famously said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." But when it comes to contentious issues like immigration, it might never be over. The battle merely shifts to another forum.

It was in this spirit that National Journal correspondent Fawn Johnson spoke to C-SPAN's Washington Journal to explain this latest twist in the immigration saga. She spoke to Greta Wodele Brawner after a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, which is right on the border with Mexico, issued a temporary injunction to block the administration's executive action to permit millions of immigrants to live, work and ultimately vote in the United States. Also at issue is funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the agency that enforces border security, which is set to expire Feb. 27, soon after Congress returns from recess.

Johnson stated clearly that as Congress left town last week Republicans were determined to hold up funding for DHS to show their anger over the president's action. The injunction could bolster this resolve or make the Republicans confident that they can relent on the funding issue and fight on in the courts. She said the dispute has already gone farther than she would have predicted.

Some unnamed Republicans are concerned that their party will be blamed for any shutdown, but Johnson cited Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as an example of one who wants to use every tool possible to block the president's action. She pointed out that approval of childhood applicants has already proceeded for a couple years. The administration has, as expected, announced it will appeal. The administration has been warning of dire consequences if DHS is not funded, and Democrats don't seem at all worried that they will be blamed for the impasse.

Texas and 25 other states had challenged the administration's plan to grant work permits and protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions, of immigrants. The states contend that such a move would pose unbearable costs and burdens upon them. The administration has suspended processing applications until the legal issue is settled but express confidence that it will ultimately win. Democratic advocates point to a decision in another court on a different aspect of the dispute.

From the point of view of a recovering lawyer whose expertise admittedly lies in another area, the administration and Democrats would appear to have little to lose, because its stance would help to mobilize the base for 2016, and the Justice Department can find a way to appeal the issue to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which now has a Democratic majority. So the Democrats can win the next round and hope to win in the Supreme Court, which, after all, is where the administration has defended Obamacare with some success.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
Sometimes significant legal and regulatory developments occur when Congress is not in session, often during year-end holiday periods. Perhaps the decision by a federal district judge in Texas to invalidate President Obama's Executive Order on immigration is such an event.
Johnson, immigration, administration, Democrats
539
2015-48-18
Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 07:48 AM
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