By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times
A federal appeals court refused to lift an injunction against President Obama’s deportation amnesty in a ruling Tuesday that delivers a second major legal setback to the administration and keeps millions of illegal immigrants on hold.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sided with a lower court that ruled Mr. Obama probably broke the law in taking unilateral action last year to grant an amnesty from deportation. The three-judge panel, ruling 2-1, shot down Mr. Obama’s hopes of quickly restarting the amnesty, and make it likely he’ll have to go to the Supreme Court to try to win his case.
The majority, Judges Jerry E. Smith and Jennifer Elrod, said the president’s new program, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability or DAPA, is a binding policy that should have gone through the usual public notice and comment period, instead of being announced unilaterally by Mr. Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson late last year.
“We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the president’s attempt to bypass the will of the American people was successfully checked again today,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who as his state’s attorney general last year began the lawsuit challenging the new amnesty.
Twenty-five states joined Texas in suing to halt the amnesty, arguing they would bear new costs in having to issue driver’s licenses to the illegal immigrants and provide health care and other services to them. The states said the president’s actions were unconstitutional or, at the very least, illegal.
First a district court, and now a federal appeals court, have sided with Texas, serving as twin legal rebukes to Mr. Obama and his defenders, who had insisted the steps he took were consistent with the law and with previous presidents’ actions.