Last night, President Obama announced his long-awaited decision to reorient the country’s immigration priorities. Because of his decision, millions living in the shadows will be able to step out of fear and work legally (though notably not gain citizenship), and deportations will decrease to a relative trickle. It’s a huge step.
Congressional Republicans, of course, are preparing to do all they can to roll back the progress. They’ll be joined by Texas’ new governor, eager to continue his legacy of feckless lawsuit distraction. Abbott’s promise as incoming governor of the state with the second highest (1.46 million) number of undocumented immigrants:
President Obama has circumvented Congress and deliberately bypassed thew ill of the American people, eroding the very foundation of our nation’s Constitution and bestowing a legacy of lawlessness. Texans have witnessed firsthand the costs and consequences caused by President Obama’s dictatorial immigration policy and now we must work together toward a solution in fixing our broken immigration system. Following tonight’s pronouncement, I am prepared to immediately challenge President Obama in court, securing our state’s sovereignty and guaranteeing the rule of law as it is intended under the Constitution.
This doesn’t come as completely new news. At the Republican Governors Association meeting on Wednesday, Perry called it a “very real possibility” that Texas will sue the administration over the executive order. They’ll have no legal standing, given the long and established precedent of presidents’ redirecting federal agency priorities. That precedent includes Reagan giving amnesty to 100,000 immigrants of his own accord.
Unfortunately, there’s also a long and established precedent of Texas suing the administration pointlessly, expensively, and fruitlessly. Incoming state executive Greg Abbott sued 25 times as attorney general. In the vast majority of those cases, Texas lost badly and stood as the lead or the only plaintiff. More than 14,000 staff hours were spent on these cases, while Texas schoolchildren, women, air-breathers and water-drinkers suffered without catching the interest of state government.
We’re about to go through a few months, at the very least, in which Republicans flail against last night’s announcement. This Texas is urgent to be at the forefront of the backwards side.
Meanwhile, Texas public servants like State Senator Sylvia Garcia can appreciate the progress unfolding before them:
“As we approach the Thanksgiving holidays, I am thankful that President Obama has taken action that will allow millions across our country to celebrate with their families and loved ones without fear of deportation. While this historic order is a step in the right direction, we must continue to fight for meaningful comprehensive immigration reform that provides lasting relief to all of the family members and friends stuck in limbo due to a broken immigration system and Washington gridlock. It is my hope that the President’s bold actions will spur Congressional action that creates a path to citizenship for all of the hardworking immigrants in our communities.”
– State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (SD 6)