WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, believes that the Obama administration is “counterfeiting immigration documents” under the president’s immigration plan.
Speaking to Fox News following a federal judge’s decision to temporarily halt President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, the potential Republican presidential contender said the commander in chief is ignoring federal law.
“One of the things it points out is the president has claimed, rather absurdly, that the basis of his authority is ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ That he’s simply choosing not to prosecute 4.5 million people here illegally,” Cruz told Fox News. “But what the district court concluded, quite rightly, is they’re doing far more than that. The administration is printing work authorizations. It is affirmatively acting in contravention of federal law. Basically, what its doing is counterfeiting immigration documents, because the work authorizations its printing are directly contrary to the text of federal law. It is dangerous when the president ignores federal law.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision late Monday puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally.
In a memorandum accompanying his order, Hanen said the lawsuit should go forward and that the states would “suffer irreparable harm in this case” without a preliminary injunction.
“The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote, adding that he agreed that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a “virtually irreversible” action.
Talking to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama said he disagreed with the ruling by Hanen that the administration had exceeded its authority. But he said that, for now, he must abide by it.
“We’re not going to disregard this federal court ruling,” Obama said, but he added that administration officials would continue to prepare to roll out the program. “I think the law is on our side and history is on our side,” he said.
Cruz called it a “major victory for the rule of law.”
“It’s interesting, (Obama) said the law is on his side. There’s at least one person who calls himself a legal scholar who disagrees, and his name is Barack Obama,” Cruz said. “Twenty-two times President Obama has admitted he doesn’t have the authority to issue unilateral amnesty. Twenty-two times he says the constitution doesn’t allow it. He said, ‘This is not a monarchy.’ That’s his quote. And then after the last election, he said never mind and issued it anyway.”
Obama’s directives would make more than 4 million immigrants in the United States illegally eligible for three-year deportation stays and work permits. Mostly those are people who have been in the country for more than five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Applications for the first phase were to begin Wednesday, when as many as 300,000 immigrants brought illegally to the country as children could begin applying for an expansion of Obama’s 2012 program aimed at the younger immigrants known as Dreamers.
Hanen’s ruling late Monday night, in a case brought by 26 states led by Texas, said that Obama and his Homeland Security Department lacked the authority to take the actions they did.
“No statute gives the DHS the discretion it is trying to exercise here,” wrote Hanen, and he issued a stay blocking the actions from taking effect. His order was not a big surprise from a Republican-appointed judge who has showed a hard line on border issues.
The Obama administration could seek a stay of his order in addition to appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Justice Department was deciding its next move.
He said, “I’ve always expected that this is a matter that will ultimately be decided by a higher court — if not the Supreme Court then a federal court of appeals.”
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)