Several Republican governors who are potential 2016 presidential candidates on Wednesday advocated a lawsuit against President Barack Obama if he acts without Congress to provide deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Republican Governors Association, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said it was a “very real possibility” that his state would sue the federal government if Obama acts unilaterally on immigration. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) suggested that Republicans sue the president. All three are potential Republican presidential candidates in 2016.
"I think the Republicans in Washington need to take the president to court. They need to force this issue. I think it's bigger than the subject matter of immigration,” Walker said during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio program Wednesday.
The legal threats came after The Washington Post reported last week that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republican leaders are considering expanding their lawsuit against the president alleging he acted outside his constitutional authority to include immigration. House Republicans have had trouble finding legal representation for their case, which claims Obama illegally delayed implementation of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Other Republican lawmakers on Wednesday warned Obama of the consequences of executive action. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said the move could lead to violence.
"The country's going to go nuts, because they're going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it's going to be a very serious situation," Coburn told USA Today. "You're going to see -- hopefully not -- but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence."
Obama’s action may provide deportation relief to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, but will not include parents of undocumented young people who came to the United States when they were children, Politico reported on Wednesday. Obama will unveil his plan during a national address on Thursday evening.
Diane Jeanty contributed reporting.