weather icon Clear

Nevada joins lawsuit challenging Obama’s action on immigration

Nevada has joined a lawsuit with more than two dozen states challenging President Barack Obama’s executive action that would protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced Monday, saying the president is “undermining the rule of law.”

“Our immigration system is broken and clearly needs to be fixed,” Laxalt said in a statement. “But just as clearly, the solution is not for the president to act unilaterally disregarding the U.S. Constitution and laws. The solution must be a permanent, legal result that includes, not ignores, the other branches of government and their constitutional roles.

“Anything less is a false hope undermining the rule of law that injures millions of people in America, including many in Nevada,” Laxalt added.

Texas filed the original lawsuit after Obama in November expanded a program to shield from deportation immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. He also offered protection to undocumented immigrants who are relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents so families wouldn’t be separated.

The president said he took action because Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, although Obama waited until after the Nov. 4 election to avoid hurting Democrats at the ballot box.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid-D-Nev., defended Obama and criticized Laxalt for joining the lawsuit.

“This is embarrassing,” Reid said in a statement. “No other state in the country will benefit more from President Obama’s executive actions than Nevada. The irresponsible decision to join a lawsuit that will cause family separation is harmful to our communities.”

Reid said Obama “acted within his legal authority” by taking executive action and that every president dating back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower “has used his executive authority to make our immigration system more effective.”

“There is no question we need a permanent solution to fix our broken system,” Reid said. “I wish Republicans would focus their efforts on passing comprehensive legislation rather than baseless lawsuits that hurt Nevada families. ”

Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange also slammed both Laxalt and GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval for joining the lawsuit, saying they “have just sent a clear message to Nevada immigrants that appealing to the anti-immigrant, tea party wing of the Republican Party is more important to them than keeping families together.”

“If Brian Sandoval and Adam Laxalt had their way, thousands of Nevadans could face deportation and countless families would be at risk of being torn apart,” Lange said in a statement. “I urge Gov. Sandoval to insist Attorney General Laxalt withdraw from this partisan, irresponsible, and mean-spirited lawsuit that is nothing more than a slap in the face to Nevada’s immigrant community.”

But Laxalt said Obama should have worked on immigration with Congress, which has sole authority to enact laws.

“The president cannot bypass the peoples’ elected representatives in Congress just because they do not pass the laws he wants, nor can he simply rewrite current law under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion,’” Laxalt said.

Sandoval also has said the president shouldn’t have acted alone.

“Any solution to the greater problem must be a legislative solution, not a unilateral decision made by the executive branch,” Sandoval said. “This announcement gives false hope to the millions of people across America who will continue to wait for a permanent solution. It represents dreams delayed by patchwork progress and expediency over good government.”

On Monday, Sandoval’s spokeswoman said his position hasn’t changed and he wants Congress to work with the president, but he also suggested he didn’t think going to court was the answer.

“He continues to believe that the best course of action is a legislative solution rather than legal action,” said Mari St. Martin.

Laxalt, a Republican, won election in November, partly on a promise to challenge federal overreach.

About 145,000 undocumented people live in the Silver State, according to the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. Some 53,000 of them are eligible for deferred action under Obama’s Nov. 20 executive actions, the group said, adding that if those immigrants got temporary work permits, it would lead to a $21 million increase in tax revenues over five years.

Obama, in announcing his executive action, used Astrid Silva, the organizing director of PLAN, as an example of an undocumented youth who is allowed to live and work here with her family under the actions he has taken.

“Adam Laxalt’s misguided and politically motivated attack on the president could affect thousands of families right here in Nevada,” Silva said in a statement. “The president acted with his full legal authority to set enforcement priorities and help keep families together. It is shameful that Laxalt would divert scarce resources from Nevada to pursue this political agenda and ensure that we maintain the status quo of a broken immigration system.”

Nevada became the 26th state to get involved in the lawsuit, which is pending in the Federal District Court in the Southern District of Texas. In addition to Nevada and Texas, the states represented in the lawsuit include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Week in Pictures: April 28-May4

Take a look at some eye-catching pictures from Las Vegas Review-Journal photographers in the past week, including Las Vegas Science & Technology Festival, Pirate Fest, weather and Canelo vs. Jacobs. Children play inside a hot air balloon provided by Las Vegas Balloon Rides during the Las Vegas Science & Technology Festival on Saturday, May 4, […]

Week in Pictures: April 21-April 27

Take a look at some eye-catching pictures from Las Vegas Review-Journal photographers in the past week, including Golden Knights playoffs, Raiders draft and WBA lightweight championship bout. The Meadows School third baseman Sam Kaplan looks in a high ground ball during fielding practice, he will play at Cornell University next year on Wednesday, April 24, […]

Week in Pictures: April 14-April 20

Take a look at some eye-catching pictures from Las Vegas Review-Journal photographers in the past week, including Golden Knights playoffs and Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. The Pink Moon, the nickname for April’s full moon, is not pink at all but yellow and sets in the west behind the Raiders Stadium early on Friday, April […]

Week in Pictures: March 17-March 23

Take a look at some eye-catching pictures from Las Vegas Review-Journal photographers in the past week, including Vegas Golden Knights, Cesar Chavez Day festival, prep baseball and El Cortez shooting. Brooklyn Ruiz, 10, center, of Redlands, Calif., jumps out of the pool while playing with her cousin, Analyce Lopez, 11, of Redlands, Calif., left, and […]

Week in Pictures: March 10-March 16

Take a look at some eye-catching pictures from Las Vegas Review-Journal photographers in the past week, including the West Coast Conference tournament, the Mountain West tournament and the Pac-12 tournament. The Stanford Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Oregon Ducks during a NCAA college basketball game in the final of the Pac-12 women’s tournament at the […]

Week in Pictures: Jan. 14-20

Take a look at some striking pictures from Review-Journal photographers in the past week, including weather features, a boxing match and the super blood wolf moon. Ronald Holmes plays the alto saxophone on The Strip as dark clouds move in on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. Clouds, rain and snow are expected in […]

7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]