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Republican Lawmakers Urge Court to Block Immigration Expansion

More than 100 Republican members of Congress urged a federal appeals court Monday to block the Obama administration’s sweeping new immigration policies such as deferred deportations.

The 25 senators and 88 representatives told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that the policies go beyond the president’s power because they create a new class-based program. That class would be the roughly four million parents – their children are U.S. citizens – who are illegally in the country, the brief states.

“The government’s creation of a categorical, class-based program is neither moored in constitutional authority nor in authority delegated by a lawful statute passed by Congress,” the lawmakers’ amicus brief states.

The 5th Circuit is considering the Obama administration’s request to remove an injunction put in place by a federal judge in Texas in February. The injunction, issued after 26 states brought the case, prevented the government from implementing actions that President Barack Obama announced in November, as he blamed congressional gridlock for inaction on immigration.

The brief from members of Congress backs up the 26 states. The states argue the injunction is necessary while the challenge to the orders is ongoing.

Senators signing the brief include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas. Representatives signing the brief include Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia and Lamar Smith of Texas.

The brief also challenges the administration’s “public announcement to decline enforcement of the law in the future” is “particularly offensive to Congress’s legislative supremacy because it undermines the intended deterrent effect of immigration laws.”

Obama’s executive actions would grant deferred deportation for parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents, the so-called DAPA program, and expand on the deferred deportation program the Obama administration created in 2012 for immigrants who came to the United States as children, called DACA.

The 5th Circuit has already heard oral arguments because of the expedited schedule for review set by the appeals court. A decision is expected this summer.

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