HELENA – Montana Attorney General Tim Fox issued the following statement after Montana joined 16 other states in legal action challenging President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration:
“Under the United States Constitution, the president’s role is limited to faithfully executing the laws passed by Congress. He can neither bypass the peoples’ elected representatives when they don’t pass the laws he wants, nor can he rewrite current laws under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ Moreover, the president’s directive to the Department of Homeland Security was issued without following the federal Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking guidelines and is nothing but an unlawfully adopted legislative rule: an executive decree that requires federal agencies to award legal benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the laws enacted by Congress. Montana and the other states involved in this suit believe this is a clear violation of the separation of powers.”
Section 2 of Article II of the United States Constitution, known as the “Take Care” clause, states that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This clause ensures that the nation’s chief executive will uphold and enforce Congress’s laws.
The federal Administrative Procedure Act requires public notice and comment in any rulemaking process that would provide legal benefits such as work permits, Medicare, and Social Security to individuals who are openly violating immigration laws. The president undertook no such process before issuing the executive orders, which essentially dispenses with federal immigration law.
The States’ case was filed in Federal District Court in the Southern District of Texas. The multi-state coalition includes Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
—Attorney General Tim Fox, Montana Department of Justice