By Elizabeth Beshears
In a ruling late Monday night, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas halted the implementation President Obama's executive orders on immigration. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL6) and Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL4) welcomed the ruling.
"Today's ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas underscores that America was founded upon the rule of law and President Obama is bound to abide by the constitutional limits of his authority," Attorney General Strange said in a press release Wednesday.
"The court's ruling is yet further affirmation that the President's action -- as the President himself admitted many times -- is illegal," Senator Sessions added. "President Obama has suspended some 500 pages of existing immigration law passed by the representatives of the American people, and replaced it with the very measures those representatives have repeatedly rejected. The President's action violates our laws, our Constitution, and the centuries of legal heritage that yielded our Republic."
"This ruling is the first step in restoring constitutional governance by respecting and upholding the separation of powers," Rep. Palmer said in his press release. "The ruling should come as no surprise to the Obama Administration or members of Congress given the clear lack of constitutional authority to support President Obama's executive order."
"The judge's decision merely reaffirms what the president has said on almost two dozen occasions when he said that he does not have the constitutional authority to grant defacto amnesty to broad categories of illegal immigrants," said Congressman Aderholt. "While some may try to paint it as something else, Judge Hanen's decision simply agrees with the President's original position."
Alabama has joined Texas and 24 other states in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the President's executive actions granting de facto amnesty to millions of immigrants in the country illegally.
The White House shot back at judge Hanen's ruling, saying "The district court's decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect. The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws -- which is exactly what the President did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system."
The Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal the district judge's decision.
Judge Hanen ruled the President's executive order goes beyond the "prosecutorial discretion" afforded the office because it bestows benefits on illegal immigrants, instead of simply refusing to enforce the country's existing laws.
Proponents of the President's immigration order were quick to downplay the ruling, calling it nothing more than a "speed bump."
"We've hit a speed bump on the road to the implementation of these programs, but folks should stay the course, get their documents ready, prepare to apply, because the programs will open their doors eventually," Karen Tumlin, Managing Attorney of the National Immigration Law Center said.
The ruling comes as the US Senate struggles to pass appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that would leave out funding for President Obama's executive amnesty program over the filibustering of Senate Democrats.
In his press release Tuesday, Sen. Sessions reminded those blocking the passage of DHS funding that, "This ruling is not an escape hatch for Democrat lawmakers who have been filibustering the House bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and block illegal amnesty. Congress cannot fund the very action which dissolves Congress' lawmaking powers. Rather, today's ruling should furnish our colleagues with yet one more reason to end their filibuster. "
Rep. Palmer seconded Sessions' call to action. "Unless the Democrats in the Senate wish to ignore the decision of the court, they should end their filibuster and allow the DHS funding bill to go to the Senate floor. The House-passed DHS funding bill is consistent with the federal judge's order and provides the funding necessary for ensuring that DHS can carry out its mission without undue and unnecessary interruption."