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Update on Executive Action Lawsuit: DOJ Files Emergency Appeal

gavel-3-1409593-m.jpgThe court battle over President Obama’s executive action continues to heat up. Readers may recall that just a few weeks ago, Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction that has temporarily prohibited the President’s executive action from going into effect. This injunction effectively suspends the President’s planned deferred action programs for undocumented young foreign nationals and for the undocumented parents of green card holders and U.S. citizens.

The injunction is part of a larger legal battle over the executive action waged by a number of states against the White House, which has culminated in the lawsuit Texas v. United States.

The Administration Fights Back

The White House made it no secret that the President was highly disappointed with Judge Hanen’s decision, and the Department of Justice filed an emergency appeal of the injunction with the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If granted, the appeal would allow the administration to move forward with the immigration programs while the Texas v. United States lawsuit makes its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In its brief filed with the court, the Department of Justice argued that Judge Hanen’s injunction thwarts the federal government’s authority and power to determine which classes of undocumented foreign nationals should be deportation priorities. Lawyers for the Department stated that the Constitution does not allow the state governments to counteract or undermine federal immigration policy or enforcement.

The government’s appeal requested that the Fifth Circuit Court lift the injunction as soon as possible, and by March 26, 2015 at the latest.

The States’ Response to the Appeal

The Texas v. United States lawsuit is led by Mr. Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Paxton objected to the Department of Justice’s filing its emergency appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court. In his press statement, he accused the President of making an unconstitutional use of his executive power in order to get around the opposition to his immigration programs that has been continuously levied against him by the Republican-controlled Congress.

Further Developments in Texas v. United States

In order to avoid filing the emergency appeal, the Department of Justice had asked Judge Hanen to postpone his ruling on the injunction, but he denied their request.

A March 19, 2015 hearing examined whether the White House overstepped its authority by issuing new work permits before the executive action was scheduled to take effect. Mr. Paxton argues that the administration began issuing the permits in order to more quickly implement the President’s executive action ahead of the outcome of the Texas v. United States lawsuit.

The Department of Justice argues that the expanded work permits have no bearing on the lawsuit because they are not specifically challenged in the suit.

The Rant

We again urge all immigrants-rights advocacy groups and private citizens to consider contacting their representatives in Congress and letting them know that Congress should not support the states in this lawsuit. Instead, it would serve the country much better for Congress to get back to work on passing real comprehensive immigration reform.

Additional Blog Posts:

The Government’s War on H-1Bs, ImmigRantings, October 11, 2012
Obama Signs Immigration Executive Order, ImmigRantings, June 15, 2012
Problems with the H-1B visa: From Work Horse to Show Pony, ImmigRantings, February 13, 2012