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Abbott files his suit

As expected.


Leading a 17-state charge up a steep legal hill, Attorney General and soon-to-be-Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s moves to expand legal protections for undocumented immigrants.

The lawsuit, the 31st Abbott has filed against the Obama administration during his 12-year tenure, fulfills his gubernatorial campaign pledge to challenge President Barack Obama’s executive action to protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from the threat of immediate deportation.

“Article 2, Second 3 was added to the Constitution to prevent this very type of conduct by a President,” Abbott said at a press conference announcing the suit, which was joined by 16 other states. “The president’s executive order and actions of federal agencies to implement the executive order directly violate a promise to the American people.”

Legal and political experts said they were skeptical of the suit’s legal underpinnings.

“It’s ill advised, I don’t think he has standing, he gets the basic terminology wrong and he protests too much when he says he’s not politicizing it, because all of it is simply about the politics of it,” said Michael Olivas, an immigration lawyer and professor at the University of Houston. “He characterizes what the president did as an executive order — it is not an executive order. It’s executive action.”

Filed in the Southern District of Texas, the suit argues Obama’s actions are unconstitutional and violate the federal Administrative Procedure Act. It also argues that the president’s order will “exacerbate” the border crisis and force states to spend more on law enforcement, health care and education.

The suit does not ask for a restraining order to immediately halt the changes, but does request that they be declared illegal.

A copy of the lawsuit is here. How do we know this is all about politics? Every single state in those 17 has a Republican governor, including several that have very small immigrant populations and thus have no credible claim to being “damaged” in some sense by this. Immigration attorneys were not impressed.

“This is completely political theater,” said Robert Loughran, an Austin immigration lawyer. “The lawsuit fails both on procedural grounds and on the merits.”

David Leopold, a former national president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, called President Barack Obama’s executive action “absolutely solid” and predicted Abbott’s lawsuit eventually will fail in court.

“It’s a frivolous complaint, not a serious lawsuit. It’ll be dismissed,” he said. “I don’t see any merits to this lawsuit at all.”

Of course, Abbott isn’t trying to impress the experts here. He’s playing his own game. Oh, and for you fans of irony, this happened on the same day that Rick Perry issued an executive order requiring all state agencies to use the federal E-Verify system, which back in 2010 he said would not “make a hill’s beans of difference” when it comes to what’s happening in America. So, you know.

One more thing, regarding the politics of this, from this AP story in the Chron.

Meanwhile, the executive director of a Hispanic engagement nonprofit said the states involved with the lawsuit “have listened to a right-wing, xenophobic faction of their party” and are “on the wrong side of history.”

“We’ve seen that Latinos, overwhelmingly, are united in support of the president’s actions,” said Arturo Carmona, head of, which has more than 300,000 members. “Republicans will suffer the consequences in November 2016.”

I sure hope so. Trail Blazers and Unfair Park have more.

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