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Texas Leads Charge on Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - President Obama's executive order on immigration violates the Constitution, which gives Congress "exclusive authority to ... set immigration policies," 27 Republican congressmen claim in an amicus brief.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas leads the brief filed Tuesday, which supports a lawsuit Texas filed on Dec. 3 with 17 other Republican-controlled states against Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and top officials of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In that lawsuit, the states object to President Obama's Nov. 14 announcement that he would, the states claim , "unilaterally suspend the immigration laws as applied to 4 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States."

Obama's directive applies to around 4 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful residents, who will not face deportation for the remainder of his term under the order, so long as they meet certain qualifications, such as clean records and proof of lengthy residency.

Texas filed a motion for preliminary injunction against the order, and asked for a hearing before Dec. 31.

The case is before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who was appointed in 2002 by President George W. Bush.

In their amicus brief, the congressmen claim: "The Constitution vested in Congress the exclusive authority to make law and set immigration policies."

They say the executive order is "disrupting the delicate balance of powers" set out in the Constitution.

The brief was filed the same day a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that Obama's executive order is unconstitutional . The Department of Justice responded to that ruling, by U.S. Justice Arthur Schwab, by calling it "flatly wrong," as Obama's executive order applied to civil cases of people with clean records, while the subject of Schwab's case faced criminal charges.

Texas wasted no time in calling Hanen's attention to Schwab's ruling.

The Republican state plaintiffs filed an advisory later Tuesday, claiming that Schwab's ruling that the executive order violates the separation of powers "agrees with" their constitutional arguments.

The states claim the administration violated the "take care clause" of the Constitution - that the president must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" - and two sections of the Administrative Procedures Act.

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