Judicial Watch, the Washington-based organization that monitors government misbehavior and challenges it in court when needed, has filed a lawsuit demanding from the Obama administration the details of the new amnesty program that was installed by executive order.
Congress several times has rejected amnesty for illegal aliens, but Obama’s plan allows immigrants who can prove they arrived in the U.S. before they reached 16, and now are 30 or younger, to obtain special permission to work in the U.S.
They also must have been living in the country at least five years and be in school or have graduated or served in the military.
Tens of thousands of applicants lined up this week as Obama’s order took effect.
Now Judicial Watch has announced a lawsuit in federal court in Washington against the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.
It is seeking documents related to the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” order from Obama that was issued in June.
Judicial Watch said the new Obama policy allows certain illegal aliens to avoid deportation and take work in the United States.
The case pursues records that first were cited in a June 22 Freedom of Information Act request: “All records concerning … the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children. … Such records include, but are not limited to, opinions, memoranda, or legal advice rendered by the Office of Legal Counsel. ”
While Obama’s Department of Justice admitted it received the FOIA request, there has been no response even though the deadline was July 24.
The Washington watchdog group said it also submitted a similar request to the DHS in June, but the agency, under Secretary Janet Napolitano, also has not responded.
“This new Obama amnesty program is an attack on the constitutional role of Congress and runs roughshod over existing immigration law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“It is no surprise that the Obama administration doesn’t want to share the legal basis for this unilateral executive action and is violating Freedom of Information Act law to keep the American people in the dark,” he said.
“President Obama and his political appointees are abusing their offices with this new amnesty program. If the administration were confident about the legality of its actions, it wouldn’t be keeping secret the legal basis for President Obama’s extraordinary decision to unilaterally change the law.”
The AP reported thousands lined up starting yesterday to apply for the special status created by Obama.
“It’s something I have been waiting for since I was two years old,” Bupendra Ram, a 25-year-old communications graduate student in Fullerton, Calif., told the AP. “This offers us an opportunity to fulfill the dreams I’ve had since I was a child.”
Obama’s maneuvers have been criticized by likely GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Observers note that the strategy is earning Obama support among the Latino population in the run up to the 2012 election. But members of Congress, who rejected similar plans earlier, said Obama simply sidestepped the legal process and created a backdoor amnesty.
In Arizona, which has taken a strong stand against illegal immigration, Gov. Jan Brewer took the issue into her own hands.
Brewer signed an executive order stating that participants in the federal program don’t qualify for state benefits and identification, such as a driver’s license. She emphasized Obama’s decree does not make illegal aliens legal and won’t entitle them to Arizona public benefits.