House Speaker Paul Ryan announced the House will vote soon on legislation authorizing the chamber to file an amicus brief in the case pending before the Supreme Court challenging President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
“This is a very extraordinary step. In fact it’s never been done before but this executive amnesty is a direct attack on the Congress’ Article 1 powers under our Constitution,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
The speaker added that the President is “not permitted to write law.”
“This is a question between Article I and Article II – the President is not permitted to write law. Only Congress is,” he said. “The House will make that very, very clear and we will do so as an institution on behalf of the American people, on behalf of representative self-government.”
The President unveiled the programs over a year ago, but federal courts blocked implementation in response to a challenge brought by Texas and 25 other states. Since then, the nearly 4.3 million immigrants who would have been eligible have been caught in legal limbo.
The Supreme Court will likely rule on the case by early summer. If the court greenlights the programs that are considered a centerpiece of the President’s second term, they will go into effect before he leaves office.
Paul Clement to represent House
Former Solicitor General Paul Clement will represent the House GOP, a Ryan aide said. He advised leaders that “it is best for the House to speak as a whole on this matter,” this aide told CNN.
Groups of House and Senate members have filed amicus briefs on high profile cases before but the upcoming vote, expected next month, will be the first time legal action will be taken on behalf of the full House of Representatives. The vote on a measure authorizing the brief will likely pass mostly along party lines.
The House counsel is expected to draft the brief with input from Clement’s firm, and will ask for time during the oral arguments to present the view of the institution.
The Supreme Court’s ruling will come down in the midst of the presidential campaign and will settle an issue that has become a talking point for Republican candidates who say that the President exceeded his authority when he announced the programs.
At issue is the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) aimed at the approximately 4.3 million undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, as well as an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) targeting teenagers and young adults who were born outside of the U.S. but raised in the country.
The President’s actions allow eligible participants to obtain temporary lawful presence and apply for work authorization as well as some associated benefits.