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Appeals Court Refuses Obama’s Request to Block Texas Judge on Immigration

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Obama Administration Asks Appeals Court to Block Judge’s Decision

Last Thursday the Obama administration pushed forward with its request to a federal appeals court to stall an order by a Texas judge which blocks Obama’s executive order on immigration. Lawyers from the Justice Department filed an emergency motion with the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, asking that the court overturn the injunction which was signed last month by Texas District Court Judge Andrew Hanen. According to Politico, “Hanen’s injunction was issued at the request of officials from 26 states who objected to Obama’s moves.

“The district court’s order is unprecedented and wrong,” the Justice Department filing said. “The Constitution does not entitle States to intrude into the uniquely federal domain of immigration enforcement.”

“In accordance with normal federal court practice, the Justice Department asked Hanen himself to stay the order. He indicated earlier this week that he did not plan to rule for or against the stay request until federal officials clarified the actions they took under Obama’s latest round of immigration actions between the time they were announced in November and February, when Hanen issued his injunction.”

While the Obama administration ws asking for the 5th Circuit to lit the order from Hanen completely, lawyers from the Justice Department suggested that perhaps the order should be narrowed to apply only the state of Texas instead of the entire United States. “Such a move was appropriate, the DOJ’s lawyers said, because only evidence about potential harm in Texas was presented to the judge. Lawyers for the states have opposed any stay and any narrowing. They contend that Hanen did receive evidence of problems Obama’s actions could cause in other states and that the judge had authority to issue a nationwide injunction.”

Only Fourteen States Agree With Obama Immigration

The Free Republic, however, reports that only 14 states actually agree with the executive order signed by President Obama. “California, New York and 12 other states are joining in the push to salvage President Obama’s plan to grant legal protection to millions of people in the U.S. illegally – even if it’s only revived in their parts of the country.

A federal judge has frozen the immigration program while a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states proceeds. Those states, mostly led by Republican governors, contend Obama is forcing their taxpayers to pick up the financial burden for millions of immigrants.

Now, 14 mostly Democratic-led states – some with the highest populations of immigrants eligible for Obama’s program – are presenting an alternative argument: They say allowing immigrants some protections would actually benefit them, in the form of increased tax revenues and stronger families.
Lawyers for these states and the District of Columbia filed a brief Thursday arguing that a federal appeals court should lift the lower court’s order – or at least limit its effect to Texas and perhaps the other 25 states that are also suing.

“A single state cannot dictate national immigration policy,” the states wrote in their legal argument, filed in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The filing, part of a legal strategy coordinated with the Obama administration, cements a political rift between red and blue states on the president’s executive action. It also signals an effort by the immigration plan’s supporters to sustain momentum while the program is held up in court.”

Texas Says Obama Did Not Clarify His Intent

As Politico points out, Judge Hanen made his decision based on the fact that Obama did not “make clear that this part of Obama’s latest immigration actions was already underway. Justice Department lawyers pointed Thursday to instances where they disclosed that the three-year grants were moving forward, but the attorneys acknowledged that prior filings in the case may have “created inadvertent confusion.”
Hanen has scheduled a hearing on the issue next week and said he would not address any stay motion before then.

The Obama Administration has been under pressure from immigrants’ rights groups to move quickly and aggressively to get Obama’s actions back on track. There are fears that if the actions remain blocked during protracted litigation, even if the administration ultimately prevails, it could be difficult to process millions of applications before Obama is set to leave office in 2017.
Since the actions draw on claimed executive powers, a future president would be under no legal obligation to continue them.

Texas and the other states suing the administration said Thursday that there’s no need to rush the proceedings, in part because the Obama Administration has dragged its feet in court in recent weeks.
“Defendants themselves saw no urgency: They waited a full week to seek a stay in the district court and almost a month to seek a stay here,” Texas Attorney General’s office attorney Scott Keller said in a letter to the appeals court. “Accelerated consideration is inconsistent with the litigation approach that Defendants themselves have taken and with the injunction’s effect of preserving the status quo.”

Appeals Court Declines Obama Request

On Friday the 13th of March, the 5th Circuit of Appeals denied the request by the Obama administration for an expedited ruling on the injunction. As Numbers USA explains, “Justice Department attorneys asked the court to rule within seven days but the court allowed the normal 10-day period for states to respond to the Administration’s request. Politico reports this could be an early sign that the 5th Circuit may not want to overturn Judge Hanen’s injunction quickly.

The Obama Administration on Thursday sought to sidestep Judge Hanen’s injunction blocking President Obama’s executive amnesties by asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside the judge’s order. The Justice Department’s emergency motion said, “The district court’s order is unprecedented and wrong. The Constitution does not entitle States to intrude into the uniquely federal domain of immigration enforcement.”

The Administration wants the 5th Circuit to block Hanen’s order while it pursues an appeal. As an alternative remedy, the Administration would accept a narrowing of Judge Hanen’s injunction to cover just the State of Texas instead of all states.”

Politico also shared the story and added, “A federal appeals court has turned aside the Obama Administration’s proposal to accelerate its request for a stay of a lower judge’s order blocking President Barack Obama’s plan to give quasi-legal status and work permits to millions more illegal immigrants.” It went on to explain, “With U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s injunction in place for nearly a month now, a few days delay is not likely to have much direct impact. And Hanen’s order doesn’t affect immigration authorities ability to prioritize deportations. However, the 5th Circuit’s move could be an early sign that the appeals court—viewed as the most conservative in the country—isn’t favorably inclined to the Obama Administration’s view that Hanen’s order needs to be overturned quickly.

The letter issued by the 5th Circuit clerk early Friday doesn’t indicate which judges considered the timing issue nor does it reveal which judges will consider whether to issue a stay or whether to overturn Hanen’s injunction.

At least 25 states, acting through their governors or attorneys general, have aligned themselves with Texas in the fight over Obama’s immigration actions. On Thursday, 14 states and the District of Columbia asked the 5th Circuit to lift Hanen’s order and to uphold Obama’s right to take the actions the administration announced in November.”

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