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Goodlatte signs legal brief fighting Obama immigration action

Goodlatte signs legal brief fighting Obama immigration action

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Sixth District Rep. Bob Goodlatte is one of 27 members of Congress to sign a proposed amicus brief in support of a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s November executive order on immigration.

The American Center for Law and Justice filed a motion in U.S. District Court in the Brownsville Division of the Southern District of Texas on Tuesday, requesting that the court accept the brief. The brief is in support of the federal lawsuit in which 24 states, including Texas, are challenging the constitutionality of the president’s action.

According to the American Center for Law and Justice, the proposed brief argues that the president’s directive “changes the law and sets a new policy, exceeding defendants’ constitutional authority and disrupting the delicate balance of powers.”

The proposed brief further argues that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed because the Department of Homeland Security directive violates the Constitution, disrupts the separation of powers, and “amounts to an abdication of their constitutional and statutory duty.”

Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a release Tuesday that the president’s November executive order “violated the Constitution by unilaterally changing our immigration laws. These actions not only threaten our government’s system of checks and balances, but also imperil our individual liberty. The president’s executive overreach must be stopped.”

Goodlatte said he is “pleased to stand by the many states that are defending our Constitution and trying to stop President Obama’s unconstitutional decrees from being implemented.”

The congressman held a hearing earlier this month on President Obama’s executive overreach. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, was one of the witnesses who spoke at the hearing.

The president’s executive order offers a legal reprieve for the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have lived in the United States for at least five years. The order would also expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The impact of the order would reach about 4 million people.

A Penn State law professor who has affirmed the president’s legal authority on his order, reacted to the news about the lawsuit.

Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar, a professor of law and director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights at Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law. Wadhia is an expert on the use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law.

She said that “President Obama’s executive actions are within the reach of legal authority and originate from the Constitution, the statute created by Congress and reams of regulations. In fact, Congress specifically authorized the executive branch to make decisions about immigration enforcement.”

Wadhia further said that “members of Congress may disagree with the president’s executive actions and deferred program as a policy matter, but to call these unlawful is simply inaccurate.”

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