December 4, 2015

Whitehouse and Colleagues File Supreme Court Brief in Support of President Obama’s Immigration Executive Actions

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), together with several members of the Senate and House of Representatives, filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of the Department of Justice’s petition for Supreme Court review of the President’s immigration executive actions.  The brief argues that the President’s actions are consistent with Congressional intent and the Executive Branch’s legal authority to enforce our immigration laws. 

“When bipartisan immigration reform was stalled for years by the Republican-controlled Congress, President Obama moved ahead, under the clear authority given to him by our laws, to begin to repair our broken immigration system,” said Whitehouse.  “Congress has tasked the Department of Homeland Security with the effective operation of our nation’s immigration system.  For the sake of the families in Rhode Island and across the country who are suffering under the current system, the Supreme Court should affirm that these actions are well within the Administration’s statutory authority.”

A total of 34 Senate Democrats and 184 House Democrats, including Senator Whitehouse, filed the amicus curiae brief in support of the petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court seeking review of a U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which blocked the Secretary of Homeland Security from implementing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Together these initiatives would provide temporary relief from deportation and work permits to eligible unauthorized immigrants, mainly immigrants brought here as children and parents of legal residents. 

According to the brief: Congress has “granted the Secretary [of Homeland Security] broad discretion in determining how to carry out the immigration laws, and has explicitly directed the Secretary to establish policies and priorities for enforcement of those laws.”  The Fifth Circuit’s decision, it states, interferes with Congress’s intent to delegate discretion to the Secretary of Homeland Security in order to ensure that our immigration system operates in a rational manner. 

Full text of the amicus brief can be found here.


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