“What we’re suing for is actually the greater harm, and that is harm to the Constitution by empowering the president of the United States to enact legislation on his own without going through Congress,” Abbott told NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd.
“Texas has had a long tradition of uniting the Hispanic culture with Texas values,” Abbott said. “But remember this, there’s a reason why people come from across the world to the United States, and that is because of the power of what the Constitution has enabled this country to be. It’s the Constitution itself that is under assault by the president of the United States by this executive order.
“Chuck, what we are doing is — this issue in this lawsuit is not about immigration, the issue in this lawsuit is about abuse of executive power. And if this abuse is not stopped, it will erode the Constitution that has attracted people to this country for generations.”
Abbott said economic harm gives Texas the standing to bring the lawsuit focusing on constitutional issues.
“As to the standing issue, understand this: Texas has been at the epicenter of the 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). You all saw more than 1,000 people crossing the border every day. Texas has (spent) more than $100 million in law enforcement, education and health care because of what has happened. And understand this, the president’s agency’s memos themselves have indicated that there will be more problems like this resulting from the next presidential order or the most recent presidential order.”
Abbott noted that some of the children who came here this summer from Central America are now enrolled in Texas public schools, and some of those people are accessing healthcare.
“All I do know is the absolute fact, and that is, Texas has incurred taxpayer dollars out of pocket as a result of the prior executive order. It has also been stated by members of the Obama administration that this new executive order will lead to the same results.”
Abbott said legal immigration is “great” for the United States, but “Any illegal activity is not good anywhere…And if bringing more immigrants here is the appropriate thing to do, then what Congress needs to do and what the president needs to do is to figure out a way to improve our immigration system.”
But Abbott said the first step must be to secure the border.
“Securing the border means ensuring that you don’t have people who are crossing the border illegally,” he said. “And that is through modern technology, through the technology that we are deploying right now, you can have monitors and cameras and see whether or not people are crossing the border. You want to see that grow to zero would be the perfect metric. Congress has the power…and the resources to decide whether or not that metric will be 0 or 10 percent or 20 percent.”
‘Not enough jobs’
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), another critic of Obama’s unilateral immigration action, told Fox News’s Shannon Bream on Sunday his biggest concerns about immigration include President Obama acting on his own to nullify immigration law and policy.
“And secondly, we don’t have enough jobs for working Americans,” Sessions said. He said President Obama’s plan to give as many as five million illegal immigrants work permits “is a direct disadvantage and horrible attack really on working Americans.”
Although some of the illegal aliens will pay taxes once they come out of the shadows, a “huge percentage” will get checks from the federal government:
“So their incomes will be so low, they’ll pay no income taxes…but they will get a check from the government for the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit. So it’s going to cost money, really, in the long run.”
Sessions noted that the White House last week said anyone who pays into Social Security or Medicare will be able to get money back, once they have paid into the system for a certain period of time.
Sessions said this comes at a time when lawmakers are “desperately” looking for ways to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. “This will make the long-term problem of fixing Medicare and Social Security much, much harder,” he warned.