Appeals court hears arguments over immigration action injunction

Friday, The Justice Department argued before the Fifth Court of Appeals to lift an injunction placed on President Obama’s immigration and deportation overhaul by Texas judge Andrew S. Hanen.

Republicans charge that Mr. Obama is usurping legislative powers the Constitution assigns exclusively to the legislative branch. The Obama administration replies that immigration law grants federal agencies broad prosecutorial discretion to shape and focus its law enforcement efforts.

Federal officials say that with limited money budgeted for immigration enforcement, they must set priorities to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally who pose a threat to national security or public safety.

To help free up resources to focus on the most dangerous, the administration is offering special immigration status to more than 5 million individuals who entered the US illegally or overstayed their visa and would otherwise be facing deportation.

Government lawyers say that the nationwide injunction is interfering with the agency’s ability to pursue its immigration priorities.

While several factors were weighed by Judge Hanen in his decision to place the injunction on the President’s immigration action, the overriding concern was that procedural rules that called for publishing the change in policy and allowing for public comment was not followed. The government arguments will try and prove that this process was not needed with the executive action President Obama used.

Critics of the executive action and proponents of the lawsuit claim that the rush to put the process in motion for the millions of eligible aliens arises from the accepted logic that once the process begins it will be much harder to end and for those at the very front of the line any privileges granted to them would be impossible to rescind.

A recent study has suggested that taxes collected by undocumented residents amounted to over $11.8 billion in 2012 with over 71 percent of the undocumented paying some combination of state and local taxes:

Granting lawful permanent residence to all 11.4 million undocumented immigrants and allowing them to work in the United States legally would increase their state and local tax contributions by an estimated $2.2 billion a year.

A Rasmussen Reports poll released in early April shows that the general public finds itself at odds with the Obama Administration Executive Action:

62 percent told the pollster that the U.S. is “not aggressive enough” in deporting those illegally in the United States. Just 15 percent believed the administration’s current policy was “about right” and 16 percent said it was “too aggressive.”

That 62 percent number is a jump from a year ago when it was 52 percent.

When asked if the baby of an illegal born in the United States should automatically become a U.S. citizen, as is now the law, 54 percent said no versus 38 percent who said yes.

In another area that seems to test American patience with the administration, 51 percent said that illegal immigrants who have American born children should not be exempt from deportation.

Contrary to the government argument that a change in policy is necessary to allocate limited resources to prioritize deportation proceedings to dangerous criminal elements it was found that total deportations have actually dwindled since November 2014 and that 30,558 criminal aliens released back into American communities amassed over 80,000 convictions, including 250 homicides, 186 kidnappings and 373 sexual assaults:

The administration is deporting fewer criminal aliens than it did last year, according to new statistics released Tuesday that undercut President Obama’s justification for his new amnesty, which he said was intended to free agents to focus on the most dangerous of criminals by focusing on “felons not families.”

Instead, both arrests and deportations of criminal aliens are down about 30 percent through the first six months of fiscal year 2015, signaling that agents, who have been told to stop focusing on rank-and-file illegal immigrants, have not been able to refocus on criminal illegal immigrants instead.

 

[Christian Science Monitor] [The Fiscal Times] [Washington Examiner] [Washington Times]