By Josh Gerstein and Seung Min Kim
11/10/15 – 11:55 AM EST
Updated: 11/10/15 – 05:27 PM EST
The Obama administration will ask the Supreme Court to allow President Barack Obama to proceed with a round of executive actions to make it easier for millions of undocumented immigrants to live and work in the U.S., the Justice Department said Tuesday.
A federal judge halted those moves in February, and Monday night a federal appeals court refused to overturn that injunction. The White House was initially cagey about what the administration planned to do next, a decision that is technically made by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
Now, Justice spokesman Patrick Rodenbush says a petition asking the Supreme Court to step in will be filed.
“The department disagrees with the 5th Circuit’s adverse ruling and intends to seek further review from the Supreme Court of the United States,” Rodenbush said. “The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow DHS to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children.”
The swift decision by the Obama administration to appeal brought quick praise from Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates, who have raised alarms that the fate of Obama’s actions would remain unresolved at a time when a plethora of GOP presidential candidates are aggressively pledging to reverse his unilateral moves.
“I didn’t expect the type of ruling we would want to see out of that circuit,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Tuesday. “I am glad to have the opportunity to accelerate the process to the Supreme Court. I’ve called upon the administration to do that; good to see they’re doing it.”
Democratic presidential candidates, who have all pledged to go even further than Obama did in stopping deportations and granting work permits to those here illegally, all blasted the 5th Circuit’s decision.
“I strongly disagree with the 5th Circuit’s ruling in this politically motivated lawsuit against the president’s executive actions,” Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton said Tuesday. “I hope the case receives a fair and expeditious hearing before the Supreme Court, so that the millions who are affected can stop living in fear of their families being broken apart.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Clinton’s main challenger for the Democratic nomination, also criticized the 2-1 ruling in a brief interview with POLITICO.
To read expanded article, click here.