The Hill

By Mike Lillis
02/20/15 – 01:45 PM EST

The Obama administration will seek an emergency court order to move forward with President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) plan to seek what is known as an emergency stay that would essentially undo a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction from earlier this week. If the stay is granted, the government could restart a pair of executive programs that will shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said DOJ will file for the stay by “Monday at the latest.”

The emergency stay had been sought by immigrant rights advocates, who want to get the programs up and running as soon as possible while the appeals process plays out.

“We — as immigrants and as Americans — have waited for nearly a quarter century for these much-needed improvements to our broken immigration system,” Marielena Hincapié, head of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), said Friday in a statement. “We should not allow a flawed legal decision to delay these changes any longer.”

Making good on earlier vows, DOJ will also file a separate appeal seeking to restart the executive programs.

“We will seek that appeal because we believe when you evaluate the legal merits of the arguments, that there is a solid legal foundation for the president to take the steps he announced last year to help reform our immigration system,” Earnest said.

At issue are two new initiatives launched unilaterally by Obama on Nov. 20.

The first expands eligibility for the president’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which halts deportations and allows work permits for certain undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. The second, known as DAPA, would extend similar benefits to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents.

Combined, the programs could affect as many as 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

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