WASHINGTON — The House voted on Thursday to embrace the legal challenge to President Barack Obama’s actions on immigration in an election-year fight over executive authority and the 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally that has roiled the Republican Party.
Republicans who hold a commanding majority cast the issue as Obama exceeding his constitutional authority in unilaterally expanding programs for immigrants. They prevailed on a 234-186 vote that authorizes Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of United States v. Texas.
A lawsuit from 26 states, led by Texas, challenges Obama’s actions, with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments next month and possibly rule in June.
“It is about the integrity of our Constitution,” said Ryan, who maintained that any changes in the immigration system rests with Congress acting legislatively. “Those lines — that separation of powers — could not be clearer. But in recent years, the executive branch has blurred these boundaries, to the point of overstepping them altogether.”