- Obama’s legalization push opposed by president-elect
- Program would have shielded 4 million undocumented immigrants
Twenty-six states states led by Texas were joined by the Obama administration and immigrant-rights groups in seeking to freeze a challenge to the outgoing president’s immigration reforms until President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Trump made opposing illegal immigration a cornerstone of his campaign and pledged to reverse President Barack Obama’s plan to shield more than 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and provide them with work permits that could lead to federal benefits like Medicaid and Social Security.
The parties agreed it makes little sense to continue fighting over the policy given the change in administration, their lawyers said Friday in a joint filing in federal court in Brownsville, Texas. They asked the judge in the case to give Trump a month in office before deciding how to resolve the states’ complaints that Obama overstepped his constitutional authority by changing immigration policy without congressional approval.
The program was blocked by a Texas judge’s order hours before immigration officials were to begin taking applications in early 2015. The reforms lost all chance of being enacted before Obama leaves office in January when a deadlocked U.S. Supreme Court refused last summer to lift that injunction.
The new president will roll back Obama’s reforms, and the states will drop their challenge, said Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell University Law School. “At the end of the day, this case will die,” he said.
There may be initial uncertainty over the fate of so-called Dreamers, millions of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and granted temporary status under an earlier program. But the reform aimed at protecting undocumented parents of American citizens is essentially dead-on-arrival under Trump, Yale-Loehr said.
The 26 mostly Republican-led states targeted their Brownsville litigation at the program for undocumented parents, Yale-Loehr said, and will likely not challenge reforms for Dreamers, if Trump lets them stay.
The case is Texas v. U.S., 14-00254, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Brownsville).