Seventeen states filed a joint federal lawsuit aimed at blocking President Obama's executive order on immigration. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the governor-elect, filing the suit in the Southern District of Texas. States joining are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. “The President is abdicating his responsibility to faithfully enforce laws that were duly enacted by Congress and attempting to rewrite immigration laws, which he has no authority to do — something the President himself has previously admitted,” Abbott said.
The White House responded to the suit by saying it is “confident that the President's executive actions are well within his legal authorities.” Officials pointed to a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel justifying their move and a letter from 135 immigration law professors backing them up. “The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that federal officials can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws,” said a spokeswoman. White House officials pointed to the Supreme Court's 2012 decision in Arizona v. United States, which they say gave the federal government leeway in setting enforcement priorities, such as deciding that removing smugglers and criminals is more important than removing veterans or students.