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Constitution Check: What does the “Take Care Clause” mean?


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Constitution Check: What does the “Take Care Clause” mean?


February 4, 2016 by Lyle Denniston


Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, looks at a big constitutional question in front of the Supreme Court in the case about President Obama’s immigration orders.




“The Justices will confront the fundamental tension of the Obama years: whether the president is using the substantial powers of his office to propel the nation past political gridlock or whether he has ignored constitutional boundaries to unilaterally impose prescriptions that require congressional approval. The court amped up the legal importance of the case by adding a constitutional question: whether Obama’s actions violated the ‘Take Care’ clause, which commands the president to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ ”


– Excerpt from a story by Washington Post staff writers Robert Barnes and Juliet Eilperin on January 19, when the Supreme Court announced it would rule on President Obama’s deferred deportation program for immigrants who entered the country illegally.


“The open-ended nature of the inquiry under the Take Care Clause – whether a particular exercise of discretion is ‘faithful’ to the law enacted by Congress – does not lend itself easily to the application of set formulas or bright-line rules… Scissors-32x32.png

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The immigration case, made simple

By Lyle Denniston on Feb 5, 2016 at 12:06 am

Next week, the blog will publish a series of articles — a symposium — on the major immigration case now under review by the Supreme Court: United States v. Texas. The Justices will hold a hearing on the case in late April. This post provides a basic explanation of that case in non-legal terms.


Like every other independent nation, America has the right to decide who comes into the country, to stay or just to visit. But because the borders are not tightly sealed, many foreign nationals enter without official permission and remain. Once here, many of them live in what President Barack Obama has called “a shadow world,” constantly in fear of being deported and so unable to live normal lives. There are now more than eleven million of these illegal immigrants.


What to do about them as a matter of national policy is a problem stalled in deep disagreement. The Senate has passed a broad reform bill that the president would have signed, but that measure died in the House of Representatives. Twice — once in June 2012, and again in November 2014 — the president and his aides used what they believe were existing powers of the executive branch to draft programs that would postpone deportation of many of these immigrants, allowing them to remain at least for a few years, to get jobs, and to qualify for some public benefits. Both programs are highly controversial, and the entire issue of immigration control is at the center of this year’s presidential election campaign. Scissors-32x32.png


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Symposium: Constitutional limits of presidential power – changing the law or enforcing it

By Jay Sekulow on Feb 8, 2016 at 10:09 am

Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. The ACLJ is planning to file an amicus brief in United States v. Texas on behalf of members of Congress and thousands of Americans.


Impatient presidents don’t get to rewrite the law when they don’t get their way. This is foundational to our country’s entire system of governance. The Supreme Court recently granted the president’s petition for certiorari in United States v. Texas, a case taking this issue head on. Yes, this case is of great national importance, as the president contends, but for reasons different than those he advanced. It’s not about immigration policy. It’s about the Constitution and fundamental pillars of our republic – the separation of powers – intended to protect our liberties and freedoms (including those of people lawfully entering the United States).


On numerous occasions, President Barack Obama publicly proclaimed that he took executive action to “change the law” – specifically, to categorically confer “lawful presence” on at least 4.3 million illegal aliens. To the president, his constitutional responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” brings with it the power to change the law. He’s wrong. Scissors-32x32.png


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Symposium: Why United States v. Texas is the most important case the Court will decide this year


By Dan Stein on Feb 9, 2016 at 9:55 am

Dan Stein is President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.


The Supreme Court has decided to review certain elements in United States v. Texas. The Supreme Court should leave the injunction in place until a full trial on the merits. There is no urgency to decide this case so long as the administration is restrained from giving out benefits that would be difficult to revoke: work authorization and eligibility for various other benefits.


Should the Court lift the injunction and endorse the administration’s wildly broad claims of unlimited power to permit millions who are outside the rules stipulated by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to remain here, then Congress and the American people will be left without remedy in the face of an unprincipled executive who willingly refuses to carry out his legal and constitutional responsibilities. In other words, the American people will never be able to rely on the courts to stop executive lawlessness in the provision of civil benefits in favor of an unlimited number of aliens who seek to enter or remain in the United States. Scissors-32x32.png http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/symposium-why-united-states-v-texas-is-the-most-important-case-the-court-will-decide-this-year/

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Anne Egeler Guest

Posted Mon, February 8th, 2016 1:06 pm

Symposium: Unable to show harm, can Texas employ the Court as a political referee?

Anne Egeler is Deputy Solicitor General for the State of Washington. She co-authored a cert.-stage amicus brief on behalf of Washington, fourteen other states, and the District of Columbia in support of the Obama administration in United States v. Texas.


For decades, Republican and Democratic presidents have used their executive authority to target immigration enforcement efforts and to defer deportation of certain undocumented immigrants. So there was nothing novel in President Barack Obama’s 2014 directive to the Department of Homeland Security to defer deportation of certain undocumented immigrants who pass background checks, have lived in the United States for five years, and either came here as children or have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.


What is novel, however, is the theory under which Texas and other states challenged President Obama’s actions in federal court. Because Texas and the other plaintiff states have alleged no real harm, they should not be able to use the federal courts to further their political objectives and derail national immigration policy. The reality is that the president’s immigration directives will substantially benefit states, not harm them. That is why Washington and many other states filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear this case and why we will file an amicus brief on the merits urging the Supreme Court to uphold the president’s actions. Scissors-32x32.png


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Symposium: United States v. Texas – The road to perpetual immigration gridlock?


By Kevin Johnson on Feb 11, 2016 at 9:52 am

Kevin Johnson is Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies at UC Davis School of Law.


United States v. Texas raises critically important legal issues concerning the discretion of the executive branch in the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. Moreover, if allowed to stand, the Fifth Circuit’s finding that Texas has standing to derail discretionary federal immigration enforcement decisions could open the door to the use of litigation in the federal courts for partisan political ends in many controversial areas of law enforcement. As the Court explained three Terms ago in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the use of litigation as a political tool, as Texas and other states are doing, is precisely the kind of suit that Article III standing doctrine seeks to prevent.

Scissors-32x32.png http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/symposium-united-states-v-texas-the-road-to-perpetual-immigration-gridlock/

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Symposium: Barack Obama is not king

By John Eastman on Feb 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

John Eastman is the founding director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and a constitutional law professor at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law.


“I’m president, I’m not king,” Barack Obama famously said back on October 25, 2010, responding to requests from groups supporting rights for illegal immigrants to unilaterally implement immigration reform. (He would later attribute the “problem” to the fact that he’s “the president of the United States, not the emperor of the United States.”) “There’s a limit to the discretion that I can show because I’m obliged to execute the law,” he added. “I can’t just make the laws up myself.”


Six months later, he explicitly tied his point to his inability to stop deportations. “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case,” he said on March 28, 2011. “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.” Scissors-32x32.png


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  • 3 weeks later...

A Divisive Debate Over Deportation


Despite the federal government’s stated focus on deporting felons, not families, some criminal offenders have illegally crossed the Texas-Mexico border multiple times. Victims’ families know something needs to change.


This report is part of our yearlong series, Bordering On Insecurity, examining border security and immigration.


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Over the next year, The Texas Tribune is taking a deep look at the issues of border security and immigration, topics never far from the headlines — or the presidential trail. The Tribune will report on the reality and rhetoric around issues like the removal of undocumented criminal offenders, the stemming of government corruption and the conditions many immigrants are ...


READ MORE Scissors-32x32.pnghttp://www.texastribune.org/tribpedia/bordering-on-insecurity/about/>

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  • 1 year later...

Beyond the wall: A Texas Tribune documentary

· by Jay Root and Todd Wiseman

· March 29, 2017

· 1Comment

No issue stirred more passion in the 2016 elections than border security and immigration. In Beyond The Wall, a Texas Tribune documentary, we look past the heated rhetoric to explore why people and dope keep pouring across the border. This documentary is part of our Bordering on Insecurity project.





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R.G.’s Roundup: Imagining the Border Wall


MARCH 30, 2017 by R.G. RATCLIFFE


Several days ago, I attended a Border Unity Rally on the international bridge between Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña. The mayor of Del Rio, as well as the alcalde of Acuña, spoke of how the two cities were one community merely separated by a river and a national border. There also were bipartisan speakers. Referencing President Trump, U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro, a San Antonio Democrat, said no president could break that unity apart. Republican Congressman Will Hurd, also from San Antonio, said Trump’s border wall was not the best way to create national security. My short video captures the flavor of the rally, but there was a bigger picture that it prompted me to think about.


Our current politics are a far cry from when President Dwight Eisenhower visited Acuña in 1960 to praise the construction of the Amistad Dam. “We know what this will mean to people on both sides of this river, in flood protection, in production of power, and in production of more irrigated lands. But it is more than this; this is a symbol of what two countries working together in peace can accomplish,” Eisenhower said from the balcony of the Acuña municipal building. A crowd of thousands was gathered below, and his speech was broadcast by radio to all of Mexico. While it is true that Eisenhower deported hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in a program with the unfortunate name Operation Wetback, the deportations were done in cooperation with the Mexican government. Scissors-32x32.png




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