With President Barack Obama poised to announce executive action Thursday to protect undocumented aliens from deportation, the White House is putting in place its legal defense for unilateral steps, Politico
In 2000, with Bill Clinton in the White House, there were approximately 8.4 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States. After rising and falling through the administration of George W. Bush, the figure today is believed to be closer to 11 million
, according to advocates of immigration reform.
The president made clear that deporting these people was not going to happen and that immigration policy had to follow from that, Politico reported.
Conservative advocacy groups are gearing up to challenge the president in the courts.
They will seek out Americans who can claim to be financially injured — people who might lose jobs or income if the migrants are given work permits and allowed to permanently stay.
"What he's doing is going to create an urgency for people to gain standing and produce a relentless line of litigation in order to try to prevent these actions," according to Dan Stein of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, Politico reported.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Fox News that he thought the Supreme Court would eventually nullify Obama's actions on immigration, according to Politico.
There is also talk of a possible House resolution that would authorize a new lawsuit against the president over his exercise of executive power on immigration.
Republicans argue that where previous presidents acted unilaterally on immigration it was for technical or procedural purposes and not to defy the will of Congress, Politico reported.
The administration views the threats of conservative lawsuits as a gimmick and will point to unilateral immigration steps previous administrations have taken dating back to the Truman years.
The White House also point out that when Arizona, California and Florida tried to challenge unilateral steps taken by Clinton on illegal immigration, federal courts dismissed the cases and the Supreme Court refused to intervene, Politico reported.
The Justice Department has assigned a former White House lawyer, Kathleen Hartnett, to handle conservative legal challenges.
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