Federal Appeals Court to Hear Arguments on Immigration Ruling

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Texas federal judge blocked Obama’s immigration actions

By Nathan Koppel,WSJ

A federal appellate court Tuesday agreed to hear an expedited appeal of a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that blocked President Barack Obama’s immigration actions.

Granting the Obama administration’s request for an expedited appeal, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on April 17 to consider the administration’s challenge to a ruling last month that temporarily blocked it from implementing a sweeping program to defer deportations and grant other benefits for people in the country illegally. The court will consider whether to stay the injunction at the hearing.

In a ruling last month, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, sided with officials from 26 largely Republican states who contend the president overstepped his authority when he took the action in November without congressional approval.

In appellate briefs filed with the Fifth Circuit court in New Orleans, the Obama administration has claimed Judge Hanen’s injunction undermined the federal government’s authority to prioritize which undocumented immigrants to deport.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the suit by the states, said the states “will vigorously oppose the president’s illegal amnesty plan in court.”

Tx AtMIf the Fifth Circuit issues a stay, it would allow the administration to continue laying the groundwork for its Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, which would permit about four million people in the country illegally to apply for deferred deportation and work authorizations.

A stay also would allow the administration to expand a 2012 program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, which allows relief for people brought to the U.S. as children.

Earlier Tuesday, before the Fifth Circuit issued its order, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott filed a brief with the court asking that it refuse to stay Judge Hanen’s injunction.

“President Obama and his lawyers have shown an alarming lack of respect for the rule of law throughout this entire judicial process,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement. “I am confident the case will ultimately result in victory not only for the state of Texas, but also for the constitution of the United States.”

Carl Tobias, a professor at University of Richmond School of Law, said it is rare for a federal appellate court to grant an oral argument on an emergency stay motion. It “virtually never happens,” he said. “This suggests that the Fifth Circuit appreciates how important the stay issue is to the U.S. government and the plaintiff states.”


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