Alexander, Corker join Senate Republicans weighing in on Supreme Court challenge of Obama immigration policy

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On Monday, Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker joined 41 of their colleagues in voicing their support to a Supreme Court legal challenged to President Barack Obama’s immigration executive orders.
Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Corker (R-Tenn.) joined with other Senate Republicans in filing an amicus brief, also called a “friend of the court” brief, in the U.S. Supreme Court case of U.S. vs State of Texas.
Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in appellate court cases by people who are not directly involved in a suit as litigants but who have a demonstrated strong interest in the subject before the court. The briefs serve to provide the court with additional information or arguments the interested parties feel the court might wish to consider when rendering a decision.
In the case of U.S. vs Texas, the Supreme Court will consider the legality of amnesty programs the President implemented through his often-criticized use of executive orders. The Supreme Court took up the case after a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in November 2015 affirmed a preliminary injunction by a federal district court in Brownsville, Texas, blocking the Obama administration from moving forward with the President’s executive actions on immigration.
President Obama unveiled the amnesty programs more than a year ago, but federal courts blocked the programs from being implemented in response to a legal challenged brought by Texas and 25 other states, including Tennessee.
Several members of both the U.S. House and Senate have filed amicus briefs on their own and last month, the U.S. House voted 234-186 to file a joint amicus brief on behalf of the entire House.
On Monday, 43 Senate Republicans filed a joint brief of their own.
“[T]he Executive’s orders contravene the letter and the spirit of the immigration laws, and threaten the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution,” the senators’ amicus brief states. “There is little doubt that the Executive adopted the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (‘DAPA’) program as part of an explicit effort to circumvent the legislative process.”
Alexander said Obama’s ordered immigration policy would “through unconstitutional executive overreach” grant lawful presence and work authorization to more than 4 Million illegal aliens.
“President Obama should be working with Congress to secure the border and create a system of legal immigration – not circumventing the rule of law and the will of the American people,” Alexander said. “Our Founders did not want a king and the American people do not want a president who acts like one.”
The Senators’ brief claims Obama’s executive actions on immigration “contravene the letter and the spirit of the immigration laws, and threaten the separation of powers enshrined into the Constitution.”
In the brief, members argue that Congress has already created laws to determine how immigrants can work, live and ultimately become naturalized in the United States.
“Yet Congress has never given the Executive unchecked discretion to rewrite federal immigration policy or to fashion its own immigration code. In this case, the Executive sought to do precisely that by granting ‘lawful presence’ – and the governmental benefits and work authorization that purportedly come with it – to over four million aliens who are illegally present in the United States and who are otherwise barred from working here or receiving federal benefits under the statutes that Congress has enacted,” the brief states.
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the case on April 18 and is expected to render a ruling by early summer.
If the court overturns the challenge, the programs will get the green light and will go into effect before President Obama leaves office.

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