Overreach! Court blocks Obama’s unilateral immigration actions
BY U.S. REP. TOM COLE
As President Obama’s time left in office draws to a close, it’s clear that he’s grasping at any and all opportunities to leave a legacy. He has either refused to work with or negotiate with lawmakers in the present Congress or failed to encourage a previously split-party Congress to find compromise. With his loss of a Democrat-led Senate, the president has now shown that when met with opposition to his policies, his arrogant answer will be to bypass Congress and act alone. That temper tantrum-like behavior, “my way or the highway” attitude and disrespect for the role of the legislative branch has been noticeably present in his intended action and perspective on immigration policy.
Last November, the president announced that he would grant legal status to approximately five million illegal immigrants. This unilateral executive action included the planned expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—a program established by the Administration in 2012— as well as the creation and implementation of a new program called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. Both programs from the Administration aim to prevent the deportation of certain illegal residents, grant legal status to those individuals and allow them to acquire and be eligible for work permits.
Predictably, there was a loud outcry against the president’s plan to unilaterally change immigration policy without any input whatsoever from Congress. It came not only from the American people, but also from lawmakers who reminded the president that changes to immigration law must start in the legislative branch. Shortly thereafter, then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott led a 26-state coalition, including Oklahoma, to challenge the constitutionality of the president’s action through a federal District Court lawsuit.