A federal judge has declared parts of Obama’s immigration executive actions unconstitutional, in the first court opinion to tackle Obama’s controversial policy changes.
In an opinion filed Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab, in Pennsylvania, said Obama’s immigration actions are invalid and effectively count as “legislation” from the Executive Branch.
“President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional,” the judge wrote.
The opinion, though, is unique in that it did not come in response to a challenge to Obama’s immigration policy announcement. It is unclear what impact, if any, the opinion might have other than to rally critics and fuel momentum behind other lawsuits.
This isn’t the only case challenging the lawfulness of the Obama’s immigration actions. Some two-dozen states have filed suit challenging Obama’s recent immigration policy reforms.
Led by Texas, these states claim that the president as exceeded the scope of executive authority in this area.
Politico think that while those cases, like the ones in Texas, have at least the theoretical possibility to halt Obama’s actions, the Pennsylania case—as a criminal proceeding involving a single individual—doesn’t seem to have that potential.
However, the judge’s opinion raises a question that some advocates of more liberal immigration policies will not be able to dismiss so easily: why don’t Obama’s actions apply to criminal prosecutions as well as deportations?
Indeed, what is the point of protecting immigrants from being expelled from the country if they can still be sent to prison for having illegally entered the country in the first place?
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