Seven more states signed on to a lawsuit challenging President Obama's executive action halting the deportation of as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants, bringing the total to 24 states, Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday.
The new states to join the coalition were Arizona, Florida, Arkansas, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma. The original 17 states, including Alabama, Kansas and Texas, filed suit in U.S. District Court last week, arguing that Obama overstepped his powers in enacting such changes on his own.
"The president's proposed executive decree violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, circumvents the will of the American people and is an affront to the families and individuals who follow our laws to legally immigrate to the United States," Abbott said.
Supporters of the the president's proposal said the executive order is a welcome measure in lieu of comprehensive congressional action on the issue.
"This action taken by the president is an important first step," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Chief James R. Lopez.
"In the immigrant communities that we serve, dialogue is important. We cannot do our job without the assistance of everyone in the community, including those who heretofore have had a great fear of reporting crime for fear of being identified as undocumented," he said.
The action "has increased the dialogue. And we are very hopeful that it will continue to increase the dialogue between the immigrant communities and law enforcement to help us do our job," he said.
Jim Wallis, an evangelical Christian writer, political activist and founder of the Washington-based Sojourners community, said he believed the president's proposal will help people around the country.
"The reaction to the executive order by President Obama outside Washington is very different than inside," he said. "Maybe the word that describes the reaction inside is anger. But the joy on the outside is what I feel across the country.
"The relief to families. The relief to congregants, people in our churches. It's very simple. We're going to support those decisions that bring relief to our people. And this executive order brings relief to our people."