U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas has temporarily blocked President Obama’s executive order on immigration that would delay deportations for millions of illegal immigrants, an action which may buy Congress more time on the looming February 27th shutdown of some key departments within the Department of Homeland Security.
Judge Hanen argues that the 26 states which filed a lawsuit against the executive order would “suffer irreparable harm” unless permitted a preliminary injunction where the question of the constitutionality of the executive order would be addressed. The first phase of the executive order, the deportation delay of the young illegal immigrants who were brought here as children, “The Dreamers”, was scheduled to go into effect February 18. The second part, the deportation delay of the parents of the “Dreamers” is targeted for implementation in two months. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the agency will not start accepting applications for deportation relief on February 18 as originally planned. Johnson commented that “The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it.”
Judge Hanen makes the argument that once amnesty is granted to these undocumented immigrants, the action cannot be undone. You cannot put the jam back in the jar. The lawsuit against the executive order alleges that with the “executive order” the President has exceeded the authority of the Executive Office and violated the “take care” clause of the Constitution which requires that the President “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who was previously the state’s attorney general, applauded Hanen’s action: “We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the President’s attempt to by-pass the will of the American people was successfully checked today.”
Judge Hanen’s temporary halt of President Obama’s immigration executive order has perhaps given Congress more time to resolve the DHS funding showdown. What will happen now? Will Republicans hold their ground and keep their measure intact? Will they continue to require that DHS funding be contingent upon rolling back Obama’s executive order. Republicans are between a rock and a hard place. The Senate has tossed the DHS Funding bill back to the House without any changes, leaving it to the House to rework it so that it will obtain the Senate Democratic votes needed for passage and ultimately a signature from President Obama. If Republicans cave to pressure from other Republicans, Democrats or the public at large to uncouple DHS from the executive order roll-back, they will upset their conservative base. If they stand their ground, they will be blamed for the DHS shutdown. And even though Republicans are not advocating for the full defunding of the agency, only the areas which support the executive order, history has shown that they will be skewered by the liberal media for “shutting down” the government. In the October 2013 and the 1995 and 1996 government funding shutdowns, the public polls blamed the Republicans for the shutdown. And today’s situation does not look very different. According to a recent CNN poll conducted February 12-15, 53% of those surveyed would blame Republicans for a DHS shutdown, 30% would blame President Obama and 13% would say that they are equally to blame. These statistics are interesting given that the same poll revealed that 59% of those surveyed disagree with Obama’s handling of the illegal immigrant situation, up from 53% in November. So now you have it. Even if people aren’t in agreement with President Obama, somehow the blame is always heaped upon the Republicans.
Judge Andrew Hanen has done the right thing by finding way to stop President Obama’s executive order over-reach. We have to remember that our government was established with three branches: the executive, legislative and judicial, with the intent that the branches check and balance each other’s use of authority. We need to return to this system. We cannot continue to allow the balance of powers to be violated.
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