More than two dozen states have joined the Texas lawsuit opposing President Obama’s executive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, but more eye-opening is the list of Republican governors whose names still do not appear on the suit.
By their silence, anti-illegal immigration activists say the seven Republican governors are helping Obama win his case through the courts.
The seven Republicans who have thus far elected not to join the suit aimed at reining in Obama are Chris Christie of New Jersey, Terry Branstad of Iowa, Larry Hogan of Maryland, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Matthew Mead of Wyoming, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Bruce Rauner of Illinois.
Five of those seven states – Maryland, Iowa, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Illinois – are actually on record in favor of Obama’s executive amnesty plan. In each of those states, the Democrat attorney general has signed a friend-of-the-court brief expressing support for Obama’s executive action to grant amnesty to up to 5 million illegal immigrants. The governors of these five states have remained silent and allowed their AGs to take the lead.
The other two states – New Jersey and Wyoming – have neither a governor nor an attorney general taking a position on the lawsuit that challenges the president’s authority to change immigration law.
A total of 12 states immediately signed a brief supporting the president: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state. Surprisingly to some observers, five of the 12 have Republican governors who are sitting back and letting their attorneys general act on behalf of their states.
Round one of the lawsuit went in favor of Texas and the 25 other states opposing Obama. A U.S. District Judge in Texas, Andrew Hanen, issued a preliminary injunction Feb. 16 stopping Obama’s executive actions from going into effect. The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
WND called the governors’ offices of all seven states with Republican governors not taking a stance on the lawsuit. It was clearly something they did not wish to talk about.
Only Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s office returned WND’s calls, and only Mead issued a statement.
“We have no comment on this,” said Catherine Kelly, spokeswoman for the Illinois governor.
Michelle Panos, press secretary for Mead, said the Wyoming governor did not plan to sign onto the lawsuit even though he supports it in principle.
“The governor is confident that with Texas in the lead, the legal challenge to the president’s order is in good hands,” Panos said in an email to WND. “Texas will do a great job advocating against executive action that exceeds executive authority and fails in the most vital respect – securing the border. This is a critical issue for Texas, a border state.”
The Wyoming governor said his state has more pressing concerns, such as the environment and wild horses.
“Currently, Wyoming has urgent issues involving the Environmental Protection Agency, the Endangered Species Act, and wild horses,” the statement said. “These are critical here, and we must focus on them, including pending litigation. While we are not in the case brought by Texas, Wyoming supports it and the claims it presses completely.”
The press secretary for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Erin Montgomery, ignored repeated phone calls from WND on Tuesday and Wednesday. On at least one of the calls Montgomery was in her office but refused to come to the phone when told that WND was seeking comment on the immigration lawsuit.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s press secretary also never responded to WND.
Nor did the press office for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s press secretary, Kevin Roberts, was called twice and also emailed. He did not return calls or the email.
“They’re acquiescing,” said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has compiled a list of all 50 governors, how they stand on Obama’s executive amnesty, and their phone numbers for activists to call. “Their silence is tantamount to consent of Obama’s lawless executive amnesty.”
Gheen said activists with his group called several of the Republican governors on Monday and were told by staffers for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan that Iowa and Maryland were not supporting Obama’s amnesty Executive Actions when in fact both states are listed on the Amicus Brief filed in court by 12 states in support of Obama.
“They outright lied to us and were very hostile,” Gheen said.
The next day, Tuesday, Gheen called the governors’ offices again while WND listened on speaker phone. This time the staffers said they were familiar with the case and were taking comments from constituents, but the governors had not released any public statement one way or the other.
The lawsuit states that Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson overstepped their constitutional authority when Johnson issued a memo offering work permits to 40 percent of the nation’s current population of illegal immigrants. Obama never signed an executive order on these issues. The entire action was based on memos by Johnson.
“The president candidly admitted that, in so doing, he unilaterally rewrote the law: ‘What you’re not paying attention to is, I just took an action to change the law,'” the lawsuit states.
So, if anyone is taking a tally, 38 states have weighed in on the Texas lawsuit: 26 have lined up on the side of Texas and 12 states plus the District of Columbia are on the side of Obama’s executive amnesty for 5 million illegals. That leaves 12 states that have chosen not to take any side – two of them with Republican governors and 10 with Democrat governors.
Staying silent, hoping for no media coverage?
The 12 silent states are: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wyoming.
The governors in these 12 states are probably hoping the media will not drag them into the immigration debate by asking why they are so unwilling to take a position, Jon Feere, legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, told WND.
“But the reality is that if Obama gets his way, millions of illegal aliens will be allowed to remain in the country and no state is immune from the effects of illegal immigration,” Feere wrote in a recent op-ed for the Hill magazine.
“It is unclear why the governors and attorneys general in these states are not weighing in, but it gives the media plenty of opportunity to ask questions of some key politicians.”
WND found none of them were willing to answer the obvious questions.
Feere said the silence is deafening, but he is not surprised by it.
“No it doesn’t surprise me,” he told WND. “They aren’t weighing in because they don’t want to weigh in on what they see as a controversial issue. In their minds they are stuck between their constituents on the one side, many of whom want better enforcement of immigration laws, and on the other side are people who are pushing for a more expansive immigration policy.”
Those others are likely associated with business interests, like the Chamber of Commerce, which is on record in favor of immigration amnesty. They see 5 million illegals being brought “out of the shadows” who are willing to work for lower wages than American citizens, Feere said.
“So we have 38 states involved one way or the other, which is pretty significant,” he said.
The suit was initially filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, now the state’s Republican governor, in early December with 16 other states, but the number has risen to 26 – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
“New Jersey, with Christie there possibly running for president, you would think people would want him to weigh in on this,” Feere said. “Kentucky is also interesting because of (Sen.) Rand Paul, another possible presidential candidate. I expect that the people of Kentucky would prefer that their governor and attorney general would weigh in, but perhaps Rand Paul could encourage them.”
According to a Paragon Insights poll, 58 percent of registered voters oppose Obama’s executive amnesty program while 36 percent support it.
A Rasmussen poll from November 2014 found 62 percent opposed.
“If 60 percent of all American voters oppose executive amnesty then we can easily assume the levels of GOP opposition are in the 80 to 90 percent range,” Gheen said. “So these seven GOP governors are the most likely to face the wrath of their constituents for having their states support what Obama is doing, and their efforts to escape will be in vain because they could choose today to join the lawsuit to contest Obama’s executive amnesty.”