DOJ Invokes Separation-of-Powers As It Seeks to Unblock Obama's Executive Amnesty

By Susan Jones | March 13, 2015 | 9:19 AM EDT

President Obama speaking about his unilateral action on immigration in Chicago on Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo)

( - The Justice Department, in an "emergency motion" filed on Thursday, asked a federal appeals court to suspend a lower court's injunction "interfering with immigration enforcement."

The injunction, imposed last month by a U.S. District Court in Texas at the behest of 26 states, "offends basic separation-of-powers and federalism principles and impinges on core Executive functions," DOJ argued.

"The lower court's order is unprecedented and wrong," said the Justice Department's request for an emergency stay, filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday.

"The Constitution does not entitle States to intrude into the uniquely federal domain of immigration enforcement. Yet the district court has taken the extraordinary step of allowing a State to override the United States’ exercise of its enforcement discretion in the immigration laws."

Critics of President Obama's executive amnesty have used the same separation-of-powers argument against the president. They note that the Constitution does not allow the president to make immigration law.

Shortly after the midterm election in November, President Obama said he would defer deportation for millions of illegal aliens, granting them a pathway to live and work in the United States for up to three years.

In formally announcing his DAPA program (Deferred Action for Parents of Childhood Arrivals) to the nation for the first time, President Obama stated, “I just took an action to change the law.”

Even in the months and years before his announced the changes, Obama said on multiple occasions that he could not do what he ended up doing.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has argued that Obama's "unilateral actions" would "eliminate our current immigration laws and replace them with his own executive amnesty."

Sessions explained that Obama's actions were contrary to the law passed by Congress, because the president intends to grant illegal immigrants "work permits, photo IDs, access to trillions in Medicare and Social Security benefits over time, up to $35,000 in free cash tax credits, and the ability to take any job in America."

In issuing its injunction last month, the District Court said it would be best to determine if Obama's executive actions are legal before inviting 4 million illegal aliens to come out of the shadows.

But the administration's emergency motion says the injunction "irreparably interferes with DHS’s ability to protect the Homeland and secure our borders"; it "jeopardizes implementation" of Obama's policy by forcing DHS to halt its preparatory work (leasing space, hiring staff); it "impairs the humanitarian interest of providing temporary relief for close family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents"; and it "deprives" police of helpful information that might be provided by illegal aliens if they do not fear speaking up.

DOJ also said the states that brought the lawsuit "will suffer no harm" if the appeals court stays the injunction. The states cite the cost of issuing drivers' licenses as one potential harm.

DOJ is asking the federal appeals court to "act on the motion within 14 days."

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