The Obama administration on Monday filed an appeal of last week’s ruling by a Texas judge that halted the president's immigration order, which would have given certain undocumented immigrants a temporary reprieve from deportation. The U.S. government also requested that a federal judge let the program continue as the appeals process plays out.
The administration is alleging that last week’s ruling in Brownsville by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen was without merit because immigration policies fall under the federal government's purview. It also argues that the state failed to prove its case.
The Texas attorney general’s office quickly responded on Monday and asked Hanen to reject the request, arguing the federal government has no immediate need to begin the program. The Department of Justice waited a full week before filing its motion, wrote Angela Colmenero, an attorney for the state of Texas.
“Indeed, if Defendants had any compelling claim of a looming, irreversible harm," they would have filed it sooner, she wrote.
The state of Texas and 25 other states filed suit in November, arguing that they would be harmed by an influx of undocumented immigrants that would be lured to the United States by the action. The policy would have allowed an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants — including some 1.46 million in Texas — to apply for a work permit and a reprieve from deportation.
Hanen’s order to stop the Obama administration’s executive action came two days before the first part of the program was scheduled to begin. He ruled that the federal government violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the way regulations are made and how much input the public has.
The federal government argues that the immigration order isn't subject to that law. It also argues that halting the program would hinder its efforts to secure the nation.
The judge's ruling blocks the Department of Homeland Security "from exercising its authority, conferred by Congress, to establish ‘policies and priorities’ to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws,” the filing states.
The state disputes that that ability will be harmed, Colmenero wrote.
“Rather, Defendants simply take issue with this Court’s conclusions," she wrote.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who filed the suit when he was the state attorney general, said last week that halting the judge's order would allow the Obama administration to continue bypassing immigration laws.
On Sunday, Abbott told Fox News the chances Hanen would halt his own order would be “close to zero.”