The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion to appeal a Texas judge's decision to block President Obama's executive action meant to defer deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants and is asking that judge to lift his injunction that bans the government from accepting applications for relief.
The government appealed to U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who ruled last week that Texas and 25 other states have the standing to sue the White House over the immigration action. Government lawyers argue that Hanen not only lacked the authority to issue an injunction against the executive actions, but also said stopping the program would "harm the interests of the public and of third parties who will be deprived of significant law enforcement and humanitarian benefits of prompt implementation."
If DOJ cannot get a full stay, they're asking for a stay in states other than Texas which have not made a show of "harm."
"If you won't grant a stay for the full injunction, then you should just grant a stay so that we can move forward with these executive actions in other states," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.
DOJ's fill appeal of Hanen's ruling will be heard by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans.
In the original lawsuit, states argued that they would suffer financial burdens as a result of Mr. Obama's orders and that the administration had not followed required procedures for changing federal rules.
"Plaintiffs will bear the costs of issuing licenses and other benefits once DAPA beneficiaries--armed with Social Security cards and employment authorization documents-- seek those benefits," Hanen wrote, referring to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, a specific program that grants reprieve to the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.
Hanen added that the program should undergo an administrative review process.
The White House had previously confirmed that they would appeal the injunction, which puts on hold action that could spare up to five million people from deportation. When asked about the possibility of a stay last week, Attorney General Eric Holder had said the decision was up to the Solicitor General.
For the administration's part, Mr. Obama promised Tuesday that "the law is on our side, and history is on our side."
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, bade goodbye and good riddance to the immigration action in a press conference Wednesday with Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott filed the lawsuit while he was still the state's attorney general.
"By printing up documents, in effect what the Obama administration was doing was counterfeiting immigration documents," Cruz said, celebrating news of the district court ruling.
In an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Abbot said he has "no doubt" the case will go all the way to the Supreme Court.
"The lawsuit that I filed against the president actually doesn't deal with the immigration issue. What it deals with is an overreach by the president who is refusing to follow and abide by the United States Constitution," Abbot said. "Instead of allowing Congress to establish immigration laws as is required by the Constitution...the president himself is making up new immigration laws."
The debate over the administration's executive actions has recently become intertwined with the fate of homeland security funding. House Republicans recently voted in favor of a bill that approves the $40 billion Department of Homeland Security budget -- but also relies on a rider that would negate the president's immigration actions. Senate Democrats have blocked its passage as a result.
The appeals court decision on the stay could eventually be appealed to the Supreme Court.