NASHVILLE, November 21, 2014-- On Friday, in response to President Obama's plan to take executive action on illegal immigration reform, two Tennessee legislators are filing a Joint Resolution requesting Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) file a lawsuit against the Obama Administration on behalf of the state.
"Article II of the United States Constitution is explicitly clear on the powers vested within the Executive Branch. President Obama lacks the authority to execute even the slightest change in policy. The Constitution delegates President Obama the power to make suggestions concerning policy and nothing more," said State Representative Andy Holt (R- Dresden) Thursday night after President Obama delivered a prime-time speech announcing his plan of action. "Anything beyond making suggestions is an illegal usurpation of undelegated power, and we simply cannot allow it to go unchecked."
The two legislators are citing the commandeering of state resources, which would be required to execute the President's Executive Order, and the lack of enforcement of deportation statutes as warrant for legal recourse.
"President Obama's moves are a dangerous and insidious display of blatant abuse of power. Tennesseans will not stand for it, and I am here to demand the integrity of our Constitution and our state is protected," said State Senator Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet). "As state legislators, we have a constitutional responsibility to ensure our state is not illegally commandeered by the federal government."
Holt and Beavers cite 180 years of Supreme Court precedent protecting state governments from the federal commandeering of resources.
"Illegally assigning millions of illegal immigrants what equates to pseudo de jure citizenship will cost Tennessee incalculable tax-payer dollars," said Beavers. "Not even Congress has the power place this undue burden on Tennessee tax-payers, so it's unclear why President Obama, acting alone, believes he has the authority to do so. Let me be clear-- he doesn't."
"The United States Supreme Court has been very clear concerning the commandeering of state resources by means of federal legislation and initiatives through coercion," said Holt. "For more than 180 years the Court has explicitly repudiated such acts of commandeering in Prigg v. Pennsylvania, New York v. United States, Printz v. United States, and most recently in NFIB v. Sebelius."
Both legislators believe the need for reform exists, but that it must be delivered by legal means.
"Our immigration system is wrecked, and I doubt anyone denies that. However, we are a nation of laws, not men, and we must work together to resolve these issues while maintaining the integrity of our Republic," said Holt.
Holt will draft and sponsor the House Resolution, and Beavers will carry it in the Senate.
State Rep. Andy Holt, District 76 (R- Dresden) | State Sen. Mae Beavers, District 17 (R- Mt. Juliet)