A state lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s executive order shielding as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation could come from Texas in the next two weeks, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said during a Monday news conference.
“Most everyone agrees that the immigration system in America is broken,” Abbott said. “Similarly, most agree that executive fiat is not the right way to fix it."
Added Abbott: “The president must follow the law just like everyone else."
Obama’s order means that undocumented parents of children in the country legally are eligible for a reprieve from deportation proceedings if they pass background checks, pay taxes and have been in the country for more than five years.
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That could affect as many as 533,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas, about 40 percent of the state’s population. Another 92,000 reside with children who are not citizens but could be in the country legally.
Abbott said he plans to reach out to other state governors and attorneys general over the next two weeks to come up with a plan to counter Obama’s executive action. Whether or not they sign on will not affect Abbott's decision. Asked if he will file suit against the federal government, something he has done 33 times before as attorney general, Abbott said the “odds are in favor.” Thirty of those lawsuits have been filed against the Obama administration.
Abbott said Obama “crossed a line” with last week’s announcement. The president’s action has been heavily criticized by Republicans, who say he overstepped his constitutional authority. Obama said Congress left him no choice when its members refused to come up with a way to reform immigration and pass a bill.
Some legal experts doubt that Abbott could successfully challenge the president’s order with a lawsuit.
Bruce Buchanan, a government professor at the University of Texas who specializes in public policy and presidential politics, said last week that the president’s action is not unconstitutional based on previous actions and interpretations of the Constitution.
“It’s not expressly forbidden,” he said. “There are very few things expressly allowed or forbidden in the Constitution when it touches the president. So no, I don’t think that argument holds water.”