Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that he is getting closer to filing suit against President Barack Obama over his executive order stopping the deportation of certain illegal immigrants.
“Congress has to assert our constitutional authority,” King told TheDC. “If we do not defend it, the president can usurp it all.”
King’s planned lawsuit is in response to the Obama administration’s highly divisive announcement last week that the government would stop deporting certain illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.
Obama’s executive order is expected to affect between 800,000 and 1.4 million people in the country illegally.
The Iowa congressman said he’s already talking with attorneys and is hoping to convene a meeting of “the leading Constitution-defending foundations” over the next week to see which outside groups might be willing to work with him on a lawsuit.
“My ideal would be to ask for a writ of mandamus to direct the president to enforce the law,” King said. “That might be hard. Behind that would be to ask for an injunction to block his implementation because it is a constitutional overreach.”
In a phone interview, King warned that letting Obama use an executive order to bypass Congress could lead to a dangerous precedent.
“If he can do this by memorandum, than he can raise the debt limit by the same standard,” King said. “He could argue that he’s not going to audit nor enforce tax collection on certain classes of people. He could do that by age group. He could do that by race, by ethnicity. The president can do anything he wants to do.”
King said the “central argument” of his lawsuit would be that “the president has legislated by memorandum.”
“He has declared that there be whole classes of people exempt from the law,” King said. “He has directed Janet Napolitano to issue this memorandum.”
Obama has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to no longer deport illegal immigrants under age 30 if they have relatively clean criminal records and entered the country before they were 16.
Citing the Department of Homeland Security memorandum of June 15, King’s office told TheDC they believe there are four classes of illegal immigrants covered in Obama’s executive order: those who have graduated from high school, those who are still in school, those who have obtained a GED and those who are honorably discharged from the military.
King said conversations with other Republican members of Congress lead him to believe he’ll have their support in filing a lawsuit challenging Obama’s order.
“The discussions I had yesterday indicate that there’s going to be a very, very strong support out of the House Judiciary Committee,” he said.
Added the congressman: “They are aware that it is a difficult legal path, but if we can get a case before the court and argued on the merits, we are confident that the court will side with the Constitution.”