When Nevada’s new Republican attorney general, Adam Laxalt, joined in the lawsuit with 25 other states challenging President Obama’s executive fiat granting amnesty from deportation and granting green cards and Social Security cards to millions of illegal immigrants, Democrats like Sen. Harry Reid were critical of his action and even Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said the matter should be handled legislatively rather than in the courts.
A ruling by a Texas federal judge granting an injunction blocking the administration from carrying out its intentions appears to vindicate Laxalt and his reasons for joining the suit. At the time he joined the other states, Laxalt stated his rationale for doing so was because the president’s action disregarded the U.S. Constitution, undermined the rule of law and was injurious to millions of Americans, including Nevadans.
In his ruling, Judge Andrew Hanen states that “ the states cannot protect themselves from the costs inflicted by the Government when 4.3 million individuals are granted legal presence with the resulting ability to compel state action. The irony of this position cannot be fully appreciated unless it is contrasted with the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) Directive. The DAPA Directive unilaterally allows individuals removable by law to legally remain in the United States based upon a classification that is not established by any federal law. It is this very lack of law about which the States complain. The Government claims that it can act without a supporting law, but the States cannot.”
Hanen’s ruling also halts the expansion of Obama’s executive order allowing children brought into the country illegally to remain.
The judge said if the government were allowed to start issuing benefits but the executive is later overturned or legislatively countermanded there would be irreparable harm to both the states and the immigrants. “This genie would be impossible to put back in the bottle,” he said.
As for the argument that Obama and his Department of Homeland Security are merely exercising prosecutorial discretion in determining who will be deported, the judge noted, “The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence.’ In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”
The day after the Texas judge’s injunction was issued, Laxalt commented, “Yesterday’s carefully considered, 123-page decision represents a great initial victory for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I am encouraged by the federal court’s thorough analysis of this executive action. This injunction will halt the executive action and allow for the judiciary to carefully evaluate the legality of President Obama’s unilateral act. As I’ve always insisted, this lawsuit is ultimately about the rule of law, not immigration, and the need for all branches of our government, including the president, to faithfully follow the law.”
The ruling does not mean that anyone will be deported anytime soon, given the administration’s lax enforcement.
The case is likely going to be heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal and possibly by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We applaud the attorney general for standing up for the rule of law.
A version of this editorial appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record.