A federal appeals court has upheld an injunction blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action to shield about 5 million immigrants from deportation and provide them with work permits.
A split decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals produced a ruling that the 26 states suing the administration over its immigration policies were likely to succeed on the merits and that an injunction to stop the policy easily favors the public interest.
“The court’s decision is a vindication for the Rule of Law and the Constitution,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement after the decision. “The President’s job is to enforce the immigration laws, not rewrite them.”
The lawsuit brought by Texas and 25 other states last December contends that Obama unconstitutionally sidestepped Congress to change the nation’s immigration laws. The suit argues the policy changes announced last November, if implemented, would burden states with the costs of schools, health care and law enforcement.
Created in 2012, the policy known as DACA allows some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain here with work permits for two years. Obama extended the same deportation protections in November to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The program for young immigrants was to take effect last February while the adult program was scheduled to begin in May of this year.
“The Department of Justice must immediately petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the GOP’s assault on Obama’s immigration actions,” said prominent immigration attorney David Leopold, a former national president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “There is plenty of time for the Supreme Court to take the case and issue a decision this term, and it’s important that the justices weigh in this term so that the executive actions can be implemented next year.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville temporarily halted Obama’s immigration plan in February while he considered the constitutional claims of the lawsuit. In his ruling, Hanen found the administration had not followed federal rule-making procedures when it announced plans to expand a program that offers deportation reprieves to some young immigrants in the country illegally.