The Volunteer State is one of the latest additions to a 20-plus state coalition filing an immigration lawsuit against President Barack Obama.
Twenty-six states are being represented in the lawsuit, which alleges that Obama’s “Immigration Accountability Executive Action” to provide deportation relief to nearly five million undocumented immigrants is unconstitutional.
In November, Obama announced he would allow undocumented immigrants who have been U.S. residents for at least five years or are the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to remain in the country temporarily.
Those who qualify would be eligible to receive a three-year work permit. They would have to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes.
Under the executive action, Obama also expanded the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program originally prohibited the deportation of people brought to the U.S. illegally as minors by their parents before June 15th, 2007. Those eligible were able to receive a two-year work permit.
The expansion of the DACA program extends the cut-off year to January 1st, 2010 and provides a three-year work permit.
Tennessee, along with Nevada, reportedly joined the multi-state lawsuit yesterday. The lawsuit is led by Texas, who initially presented a lawsuit against Obama for his executive actions on immigration in December 2014.
There are an estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants in Tennessee. More than 11 million are in the nation, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to Texas, Tennessee, and Nevada, the states being represented in the lawsuit are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The multi-state lawsuit was heard on January 15th in a Brownsville, Texas federal court by Judge Andrew Hansen. A ruling hasn’t been issued yet. The Obama administration has until January 30th to respond to the lawsuit.
A dozen states, along with the District of Columbia, have banded together to support Obama’s immigration order. The 12 states include Washington, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
The group filed an amicus brief on January 12th. They argue that the president’s immigration order would not only improve the lives of immigrant families but also the economy.
By Louis Goggans