Judge Invalidates Rule Allowing Migrant Expulsions on Border
A federal district court judge has ruled that a recent executive order by President Obama that expanded the authority to deport undocumented immigrants from the U.S. border is unconstitutional. The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III was released in late January. In his opinion, Pauley, a George W. Bush appointee, said the executive order is “a radical departure from the past practice of treating immigration as a national security issue.” Pauley said that the president did not have the authority to implement the order “by executive fiat” and that he exceeded the Executive’s authority in issuing it.
The ruling came after Obama issued the order in December. According to Pauley, it “effectively declares open-ended, and, as a result, unconstitutional, a border-security construction that the executive branch has been responsible for since the founding.” Pauley said that the president’s order had “no basis in [the Immigration and Nationality Act].”
On January 20, Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, told reporters that the president had no further comment on the ruling, and that, “The president will review the ruling and make a determination as to whether he will take action on it.” After the decision was made public, Obama issued a statement saying, “The court’s ruling is correct: The order cannot stand because it is a radical departure from the past practice of handling immigration primarily as a national-security issue. The order, therefore, must not be enforced.”
If the new court ruling stands and becomes binding, the order will be sent back to the president for execution. Further, the ruling will be a setback for the president and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, whose efforts have been at the forefront of undocumented immigrants’ concerns since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.
The case also has implications for the future enforcement of the immigration law and the nation’s immigration policy.
It is not known if the ruling will have an impact on the administration’s current efforts to deport undocumented immigrants in general—whether they are in the country illegally, or on the way