The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court Thursday to lift a lower court judge's order halting President Barack Obama's executive amnesty orders so that they could take effect immediately, arguing that last month's ruling by the Texas judge was "unprecedented and wrong."
"The preliminary injunction is a sweeping order that extends beyond the parties before the court and irreparably harms the government and the public interest," the department said in its filing to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, The Washington Times reports.
Lawyers argued that U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen's injunction was too broad because it stopped the amnesty from taking effect nationwide — rather than in Texas and the other 25 states that sued the Obama administration over the unilateral actions.
Hanen sits in Brownsville, Texas.
The department also argued that the Hanen's move prevents the Department of Homeland Security from "marshalling its resources to protect border security, public safety and national security, while also addressing humanitarian interests," The Hill reports.
By filing the appeal in New Orleans, the Obama administration indicated that it was not willing to wait for the lower court to act further — and the move could put the case on the road to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the reports.
In his ruling last month, Hanen said that the safest course was to halt the amnesty until he had the chance to hear the full case, in which the states argued that they would be harmed by the orders and that the administration had not followed proper procedure in moving forward with the actions.
A hearing has been set for March 19.
Obama's orders, announced in November, would grant deportation relief and work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.
They would create
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), a program that also would provide tax rebates to illegals, and would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Obama created in 2012 for illegals who were brought to the United States as children, from two years to three years.
The president has long argued that he has the right to determine whom to deport, but Hanen ruled the president had gone too far with the unilateral orders.
At next week's hearing, the Justice Department is expected to explain why it processed 100,000 extended work permit renewals for illegals under the amnesty orders. Homeland Security has said it did so because the orders were announced in November, only to be halted by Hanen's Feb. 16 order.
But Texas Attorney general Ken Paxton has accused the White House of misleading the court, saying that the administration had allowed the illegals to obtain extended amnesty documents early.
The administration had said that major parts of Obama's order were not to take effect until late February or March.
"In an apparent attempt to quickly execute President Obama’s unlawful, unconstitutional amnesty plan, the Obama administration appears to have already been issuing expanded work permits, in direct contradiction to what they told a federal judge previously in this litigation," Paxton said last week.
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