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Federal Judge challenges Obamas immigration action    December 17, 2014, 2:16 pm

 A federal court judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the deferred action program created by President Obama for parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents an unconstitutional breach of the separation of powers (United State v. Juarez-Escobar, W.D. Pa., No. 2:14-cr-00180, 12/16/14).  

“The Executive Action provides for a process by which undocumented immigrants will become quasi-United State citizens… President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional” said the Judge.

Elionardo Juarez-Escobar was previously deported, reentered the US again and was arrested in 2005 for drunk driving.  He pleaded guilty to “re-entry of a removed alien”.  However, after Obama’s immigration announcement, his lawyers asked the court to examine the impact of the deferred action program and how it applies to Mr. Juarez-Escobar.   Under the federal guidelines, and illegal immigrant is eligible for deferred action on deportation if he/she meets the following criteria:

1.       Is not a threat to national security or public safety

2.       Entered the U.S. prior to 2010

3.       Was within the US when the deferred action program was announced

4.       Has a child who is a U.S. citizen

5.       And otherwise does not qualify for deferred action

The court initially found that Juarez-Escobar is unlikely to qualify for the deferred action program, but because he has been employed by his brother’s landscaping business, and attempted to pay taxes, the court felt that he may be a candidate for protection from deportation.

Although the decision came by Judge Arthur J. Schwab as part of a criminal case against an undocumented immigrant, rather than a direct challenge, it still marks the first such opinion to address the President’s immigration announcement.   It is unlikely to have any impact, but could incentivize other lawsuits.   There is already a legal challenge against President Obama for his executive action on immigration, and 24 states have signed onto the suit.  The President drew criticism from Republicans last month, when he announced to temporarily delay deportation of up to 5 million people who reside illegally within the United States.