Thursday, December 4, 2014

(un)Lucky 17: The Number of States Suing Obama

The republicans have been trying to find an excuse to oust Obama since he got into office, and they finally have their chance. Texas and 16 other states are suing the president on grounds that “he violated his constitutional duty to enforce the laws and illegally placed new burdens on state budgets” (Montgomery, NYT, link 1). Texas is spearheading this lawsuit as it gets hit with the majority of illegal immigration.

            I have a few issues with their arguments, one of which being that this EO will ramp up illegal border crossings, as Latinos may see it as a free pass into the country. This simply isn’t true, as the EO only applies to immigrants who have been in America for over 5 years, have American born children, have passed background checks, and are willing to pay taxes (link 2). Even then, these immigrants aren’t given citizenship; they get the opportunity to apply to stay in the country if they start paying taxes and stay out of trouble, with no guarantee of success. The EO does not apply to new immigrants, so there’s no reason for border crossings to go up. Another hole in their argument is that this EO provides for more border security, which is what most of the Border States are fighting for anyways.

            What really gets me is the pure tunnel vision affecting these 17 states. There has been a bill in the house on immigration reform for the past year and a half that included heightened border security and a path towards citizenship by legal means but the republicans in the house have refused to vote on it (link 3). The passing of that bill would have meant this EO would be unnecessary.  All the states want to do is Stonewall Obama, and they will go to any means necessary to do it, which is exemplified by this lawsuit. What do you think?

            Do you think the states have any grounds to sue the president, and do you think the suit will hold?

            Regarding the issue of immigration, how much do you think racism is a part of the opposition of immigration?

            What are your thoughts on the best solution to our broken immigration system?


Rene C said...

I agree with the states decisions, they do in fact have ground to sue Obama. However, I do not think the suit would hold, for which the only thing stopping some states is the sheer fact that the immigrants help the economy, for which brings me to the case of racism. I do not think this situation is based on racism, but more based on the economy.
As for fixing the immigration problem, I do not think building more borders would help. Instead, I think the US should focus more on looking into the process of immigration. For, I think that the reason why immigrants are undocumented in the first place is because of the complications the system creates.

Lindsay Block said...

While I agree with you, Andros, that the states are trying to find any way to prevent Obama from getting his way, I do partially understand the increased immigration fear. While the EO would only apply to those who have been in the US for over 5 years and fit the other criteria, this could open the door for those who see this change in policy as a leniency to illegal immigrants and might take advantage of it even though it would not apply to them. While Obama explicitly says that the law does not apply to future immigrants and that it is not "amnesty," I realize that certain states might understand this legislation as a danger. I agree with Rene on his point that the suit will not hold partly because the economic burden of immigrants will not change with this bill because the applicable immigrants are already in the US. Lastly, I do not think that racism is the issue, but the increased anger towards immigrants as a group that current US citizens think are a danger to them.

Kelsey O'Donnell said...

I slightly disagree with Rene and Lindsay. I don't think that this EO is really that horrible. Like Andros said, these states are looking for any reason to blame Obama. While it may be slightly over stepping his bounds, at a certain point there needs to be action on this immigration issue and that's exactly what Obama did. The inefficiency of Congress needs to be dealt with and that's what Obama did. Racism may not necessarily be a large part but it's definitely a part. America is still racist, that seems obvious at this point. Immigration into our country and having the "American Dream" is supposed to be a possibility. At this point in our country, if you're from Latin America, this is not a realistic possibility and that needs to change somehow.

Jordan Kranzler said...

I agree with Kelsey. This action is allowed because the Dept of Homeland Security is allowed to exercise prosecutorial discretion, which is why I don't thin the suit will hold. I think it is a big part, but some people are genuinely scared about any economic consequences that may come with it (which I think are overblown - and there are some benefits, one of which you can read about here: So, it influences it, but you can't assume someone is a racist because they take a conservative position on immigration policy. I personally think that with regards to the immigration issue as a whole, we need to make H-1B visas easier to get. It is ridiculous how many people who should be contributing to the American economy can't because of our broken immigration system.

Alex Medwid said...

I think that the notion of this EO increasing illegal immigration is largely speculative, and that this not grounds to prove that Obama has failed to protect the United States Constitution. Thus this lawsuit is not really valid.

Racism is a a factor in anti-immigration mentality to a degree, but a huge influx of mostly poor immigrants can have very negative impacts on a state's economy in the short term.

I think the best fix for the immigration system would be to hugely increase the number of legal immigrants let into the country. One number of legal immigrants does more harm than the same number of legal immigrants due to issues of law enforcement and things like drivers' licenses and taxation.