Is Obama's immigration action legal?


Republicans say President Obama’s executive action on immigration violates the Constitution. This Q&A explores the legal and political questions raised by the move.


Here is my view on the topic.

  1. Is Obama over stepping his authority? - probably

  2. What can congress do? - well the constitution sets down some clear areas where the congress could act:
    a. The congress probably has grounds to impeach the president (they won’t and don’t have the votes to convict)
    b. The congress could stop funding the Executive Branch (that would cause a government shut down and the GOP has said they will not do that)
    c. They could pass a law revoking what the president did (that is unlikely to be signed by the president and it is unlikely they will have the votes to over ride a veto.)

So congress really doesn’t have anything they can do except partner with the Executive Branch on a revised immigration law that both sides will endorse (or just let what the president did stand.)

I don’t think individual congressmen have standing to file a suit since they can’t show they were personally harmed.

A State may sue if they can show they have to expend money or otherwise harmed by this action; as the article points out two states have started actions to do that. It may or may not get to the SCOTUS for decision in 2016. The cases may be interesting to watch.

my 2-cents.


The problem is this goes way beyond finding the most prudent ways to execute laws, to essentially, by executive fiat, declaring the laws null and void. Only for very grave moral concerns can a law be completely ignored.


Well said. I strongly disagree with this particular execution of immigration reform, but agree with the principle of immigration reform


I see Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio has decided to sue. I don’t think he has standing and my prediction is the suit will be thrown out on standing.


Hillary Clinton breaks her silence on immigration, comes out in full support of Obama’s plan:


First of all, let me start with a disclaimer…I am not supporting, nor am I condemning anything the administration or Congress does, but I offer the following just for discussion:

The issue of legality might be meaningless.

A better question, might be, is it moral.

The two are not the same, and in fact, can cause great consternation.

For example:

In the U.S. abortion is quite legal. In the state of Oregon, assisted suicide is legal.

Because they are legal, are they moral? No, clearly they are not.

Because they are within the laws of man, are they within the laws of God? Clearly they are not.

Now apply the same principle to the question on immigration policy, whether coming from the office of POTUS, the halls of Congress, or the decisions of SCOTUS.


I am not against this modified form of amnesty, but part of the reason I am not against it is that because we, or rather, the US federal government did not enforce it, we can’t now turn aroound and punish them for breaking the law. We can’t really expect them to respect a law we are ignoring, can we?

But the GOP could respond by doing something that the American people have wanted to see for a long time, which is to change or create the laws in a way which will provide the protection the federal government is obliged to offer the citizens. Rather than having a border which is so porous that any old criminals and drugs can come in, we should have a system where this doesn’t happen. And there are a lot of considerations to take into account there.

Amnesty has been granted 6 times, and each time, amnesty was supposed to be connected to actions in the part of the government which would reduce illegal immigration. The problem is that we never accomplished that second part, which led to the need for another amnesty. Now we have people pouring in, and those people include people we really don’t want here! So this time, I hope the GOP finds some spine and rectifies this situation, esp at this time when so many people who arrived here legally (including through birth) are having trouble finding work.


The answer to the OP is yes.


Harry Truman had an executive order overturned.

So, many people are filing suit, AGs in Texas and Oklahoma, the House leader.

Not sure if all of them will be found with no standing.


I agree. These measures are pretty mild and actually, Obama is not doing enough to encourage more migration into the USA. As Pope Francis has taught us:
“Migration, he said, benefits migrants and the receiving country, and it stimulates the human conscience by being “a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses.”…
Pope Francis said people must recognize the advantages of migration…”
People should listen to what Pope Francis has been teaching us.


I see your biased source and raise you a biased source.


We are and I don’t see an endorsement of illegal immigration as well.

People should listen to the Holy Father’s words.


Walter Dellinger was head of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1993 to 1996.

I agree with Mr. Dellinger, it isn’t unlawful. The constitution provides impeachment and defunding as the recourse (neither will be taken.) Personally, I don’t think any of the suits will succeed.


I thought they were pretty mild as well. With all of the buildup to the President’s announcement, particularly from his opponents, I was expecting something more dramatic. However, after his announcement, I don’t understand what all the commotion is about. The position of Boehner and his republican colleagues seems to be “we haven’t done anything on this issue, but we’ll sue you if you try to do something.” What we’re getting from Congress is the opposite of leadership.


The president has the sworn duty to enforce the laws of the United States. That is part of his oath of office. Violating that oath a crime that is grounds for impeachment.

It is the Congress that makes the laws, if he wants them changed then he needs to go to Congress and make his case like President Clinton, and for that matter, every president of this country has up until now.


Did the Bill that the Senate passed provide for a Secured Border?

No. I thank the House for its leadership, otherwise, we deal with this every 20 years or so.


Excellent response!! :thumbsup:


:thumbsup: This seems to be the concept of what may be wrongdoing and the SCOTUS may indeed, find it as an excessive reach of the Executive Branch.


How come everyone is sidestepping the issue of immigration reform itself, and only discussing the actions of the administration? hmmmm:shrug:

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