2017 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt: State lawsuit convinced Trump Administration to withdraw Obama immigration directive

Release Date: Jun 16, 2017

TOPEKA – (June 16, 2017) – A lawsuit filed by Kansas and 25 other states led to the Trump administration’s action yesterday to rescind an Obama executive action on illegal immigration, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

In a filing yesterday in federal district court in Texas, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it is rescinding the Obama Administration’s November 20, 2014, memorandum that ordered relaxed enforcement of immigration laws against certain categories of illegal immigrants. That memorandum, commonly known as President Obama’s “executive action” on immigration, had never entered into effect because it was immediately challenged by 26 states, including Kansas, and was blocked by a federal court injunction.

In its filing yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security set out the history of that litigation.  Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly wrote that he decided to withdraw the Obama policy after considering “a number of factors, including the preliminary injunction in this matter, the ongoing litigation, the fact that [the Obama memorandum] never took effect, and our new immigration enforcement priorities.”

Schmidt said yesterday’s action was a direct result of the successful litigation filed by the states that challenged President Obama’s legal authority in this matter.

“Yesterday’s decision by the federal government to drop its illegal effort to rewrite immigration law by executive action is a victory for the rule of law in our country,” Schmidt said. “If changes are to be made to federal immigration law, those changes must come from the people’s elected representatives in Congress, not from a president and federal agencies disregarding the written law to act as they prefer. There is no shortcut or substitute for the Constitution’s lawmaking process.”

In its filing yesterday with the court, the Department of Homeland Security requested additional time to consult with the states about disposition of the lawsuit. Schmidt said he is hopeful that withdrawal of the illegal federal immigration policy will allow swift resolution of the remaining issues in the pending lawsuit. The states filed their lawsuit in December 2014 and obtained the preliminary injunction in February 2015. That injunction eventually was affirmed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A copy of yesterday’s Department of Homeland Security filing is available at http://bit.ly/2sxtFq2.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.