As a federal judge in Texas prepares to hear a challenge to President Barack Obama’s immigration executive order by 24 states, about a dozen other states are pushing back.
Attorneys general from the states supporting Obama’s order have submitted briefs with the Texas federal court where the lawsuit opposing the president’s initiative was filed. The briefs defend the order, which seeks to spare some 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation for about three years, and allows them to obtain work permits and driver’s licenses.
The pro-executive order states are urging Judge Andrew Hanen in the Southern District of Texas in Brownsville to keep it intact, according to The Hill.
“By properly using his authority to set enforcement priorities, the president’s action benefits Washington and other states by improving public safety, keeping families together, and aiding our economy,” said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is leading the fight for the executive order. “Hard working, tax paying immigrants can now emerge from the shadows.”
The states that have joined Washington in support of the president are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont.
The District of Columbia also is part of effort to support the executive order.
In their argument, they cite an analysis by the Center for American Progress claiming that bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and allowing them to work would translate into millions in tax revenues for states over the next five years, according to The Hill.
California would reap the most in tax revenues – about $900 million.
The lawsuit, led by former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who since the filing on Dec. 3 assumed the office of governor, argues that Obama’s executive order is unconstitutional because he made the move without the approval of Congress.
"On November 20, 2014," the lawsuit reads, "the President of the United States announced that he would unilaterally suspend the immigration laws as applied to 4 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States."
The lawsuit claims that the order would end up costing states, not bringing them more revenues, because they would have to provide services and other government benefits to the undocumented immigrants who qualify for protection from deportation.
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