D.C. Joins States Defending Obama’s Immigration Action

Activists gathered in front of the White House following Obama's announcement that he would take executive action on immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced Monday he is joining 12 other states in calling on a federal judge to uphold President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.  

In November, Obama issued an executive order  that protected 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and made them eligible for work permits, and made a number of other changes to the immigration system. Republicans criticized the president’s actions, with many arguing he overstepped his constitutional authority. Then-Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas led a coalition of 25 states in December in suing the president over his immigration action. Abbott, now the governor of Texas, was joined by mainly conservative-leaning states, though some swing states, including Florida and Ohio, also signed onto the lawsuit.  

“This lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about the rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution,” the plaintiffs wrote in their lawsuit .  

On Monday, the president’s allies countered with their own brief urging U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas’ Southern District to uphold the president’s actions.  

Racine, D.C.'s first elected attorney general, said in a statement Monday, “We are proud to support the president’s wise and lawful actions here to protect our immigrant families in the District and throughout the country.”  

Racine joined attorneys general from Washington, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont in filing the brief.  

“The truth is that the [president’s] directives will substantially benefit states, will further the public interest, and are well within the President’s broad authority to enforce immigration law,” the attorneys general argued in their brief .  

In December, then D.C. Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser joined mayors from around the country in New York City to determine a cohesive strategy for implementing the president’s executive orders.  

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Topics: immigration