Justice Department files request for stay on immigration ruling

As expected.


The U.S. government asked a federal judge Monday to lift his temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s action to shield millions of immigrants in the country illegally from deportation.

The Justice Department’s motion for a stay was filed with the court of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas.

The federal government on Monday also filed a three-page notice with Hanen, telling him it is appealing his decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans.


Justice Department attorneys said a stay of Hanen’s ruling is necessary “to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is able to most effectively protect national security, public safety, and the integrity of the border.” The 20-page motion argued that keeping the temporary hold “would also harm the interests of the public and of third parties who will be deprived of significant law enforcement and humanitarian benefits of prompt implementation” of the president’s immigration action.

Government lawyers also contended Hanen lacked the authority to issue the injunction, the national effect of which is “vastly” excessive.

The injunction issued by Hanen should only focus on Texas “so that we can move forward with these executive actions in other states,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

It is not unheard of for judges to delay rulings they have issued. Last year, a federal judge ruled Texas’ same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional but put that on hold to allow the state to appeal. But legal experts say it’s unlikely Hanen will put his ruling on hold, because his ruling said states would “suffer irreparable harm in this case” if Obama’s actions on immigration were to proceed while the lawsuit is argued.

“Based on (Hanen’s) language, it stands to reason that if you stay this order then those harms would start to accrue and that’s the whole point of him enjoining the order in the first place,” said Pratheepan Gulasekaram, a constitutional and immigration law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law in California.

See here and here for the background. Abbott did a lot of woofing about this over the weekend, and much as it pains me to agree with him, I don’t see Judge Hanen staying his ruling. What the Fifth Circuit and SCOTUS do is anyone’s guess. It’s mostly a question of how long it takes for this part of the process to play out. Daily Kos has more.

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