This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that his state is teaming up with 16 others to sue the federal government over President Obama's recent action on immigration.

The lawsuit asks a south Texas U.S. District Court to declare the president's deferred action programs illegal, arguing that Obama overstepped the bounds of his authority. "This lawsuit is not about immigration," reads the official complaint. "It is about the rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution."

The 17 plaintiffs allege that Obama violated the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which compels the president to "faithfully execute" Congress' laws. They also claim that the actions violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires rules made by federal agencies to go through "notice-and-comment rulemaking."

Throughout the lawsuit, the plaintiffs use the president's own words against him. The complaint notes that Obama, pressing Congress to pass the Dream Act in 2010, repeatedly said he could not achieve its goals on its own. It quotes him saying, "I am president, I am not king. I can't do these things just by myself. ... I can't just make the laws up by myself."

Then, the lawsuit alleges, "notwithstanding his repeated insistence that he could not stretch his executive powers any further," the president announced a deferred-action program, DACA, in 2012. At that point, the president is quoted saying he could no longer act on his own—but in late November, he extended the deferred action program again, this time to cover hundreds of thousands more undocumented immigrants.

The lawsuit goes on to outline damages Obama's actions on immigration have caused the plaintiff states, urging the court to provide the states relief by declaring them unlawful.

In addition to Texas, the lawsuit involves the states of Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Abbott, who is currently the attorney general of Texas, is no stranger to taking the government to court. This is the 31st time he's sued the feds since 2009.

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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