A federal judge in Washington listened to arguments Monday in a case that could stop President Obama’s amnesty plan cold, but a decision isn’t expected for days, possibly even several weeks.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell heard a request from attorney Larry Klayman of FreedomWatch on behalf of his client, Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to immediately stop the implementation of the executive action Obama announced Nov. 20, which effectively grants amnesty to an estimated 5 million illegal aliens.
Klayman said he was pleased the judge held an expedited preliminary injunction hearing.
“This was important because as we speak, millions of illegal aliens are in the process of being granted amnesty,” he said. “As presented to the court, a large number of these illegal aliens will be back onto the streets of Maricopa County and the nation as a whole. Many of these illegals are repeat criminal offenders. This puts a great strain on the resources of Sheriff Arpaio’s office and endangers the people of Maricopa County.”
Klayman said, win or lose, the case likely will go to the Supreme Court, which “will be the final arbiter of whether the president’s actions are constitutional or not.”
Earlier, Klayman argued Obama “cannot end-run Congress based on his own ’emperor-like’ actions.”
“By his own admission 22 times in the past, Obama lacks the power to take this unconstitutional executive action,” Klayman said. “To allow this to stand would amount to trashing our constitutional republic and set a bad precedent for future presidents. I am hopeful that the court will grant us the preliminary injunction, in order that the status quo of our current law can remain in effect, and allow the next Congress the right to enact any new legislation that can help solve our border and illegal immigration problems.”
He explained that if Obama’s “unconstitutional executive action” goes forward, Arpaio’s law enforcement duties and responsibilities “will be irreparably harmed.”
The sheriff, before the hearing, said, the president’s “unconstitutional act” will have “a serious detrimental impact on my carrying out the duties and responsibilities for which I am encharged as sheriff.”
“Specifically, it will severely strain our resources, both in manpower and financially, necessary to protect the citizens I was elected to serve,” he said.
WND reported earlier when another federal judge declared the amnesty unconstitutional.
And Klayman said an injunction preventing the program from being implemented “will work no harm to defendants, as the status quo of existing law enacted by Congress will be preserved. It is not right or just that the president and the other defendants circumvent the will of the people in our republic, simply because they believe that the new Congress will not [toe] the line to their goals for immigration reform.”
Howell already has made a ruling in Arpaio’s favor, ordering a fast track for case arguments and hearings.
Two Justice Department lawyers representing Obama in the case had asked for the deadline for their initial response to be delayed until late January. But the judge ordered it submitted immediately and then scheduled Monday’s hearing.
WND reported Arpaio’s complaint argues the timing is crucial, because the government already is pouring resources into meeting the orders, and the offer of amnesty likely will draw a whole new flood of illegal aliens.
See Klayman’s comments after hearing:
The president’s decision, Klayman wrote, “orders direct DHS personnel including the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE to immediately suspend enforcement of immigration laws with regard to any who appear to be eligible for the new deferred action programs, even though such persons might not yet be able to apply for formal recognition.”
The instructions also tell law enforcement officials to “immediately” begin identifying those who could be given the special benefit.
Klayman said the federal government already has leased office space and begun the process of hiring 1,000 new workers to process the illegal aliens through Obama’s amnesty program.
All of those actions would be for nothing if a court rules that the program doesn’t meet the Constitution’s requirements, he wrote.
“By contrast if the implementation is simply delayed until a court decision, there will be no such harm,” he said.
Klayman explained that under current law, Arpaio will turn over to the DHS illegal aliens who commit crimes in his county to be deported.
“By contrast, under the defendants’ new executive actions, those persons will not be subject to deportation. Therefore, they will serve out their criminal sentences in Plaintiff Arpaio’s jails, costing his office enormous time and expense,” Klayman argued.
The ruling that the amnesty program is unconstitutional came last week from a federal judge in Pennsylvania.
“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,” said U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
The judge noted Obama “contended that although legislation is the most appropriate course of action to solve the immigration debate, his executive action was necessary because of Congress’s failure to pass legislation, acceptable to him, in this regard.
“This proposition is arbitrary and does not negate the requirement that the November 20, 2014, executive action be lawfully within the president’s executive authority,” the judge wrote. “It is not.”
Quoting from a previous precedent, the judge said that in the “framework of our Constitution, the president’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.”
“The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad,” Schwab said.
The judge said Obama’s contention that Congress had not worked in his time frame was largely irrelevant.