By Julia Preston
May 26, 2015
A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s request to lift a hold on the president’s executive actions on immigration, which would have granted protection from deportation as well as work permits to millions of immigrants in the country illegally.
Two of three judges on a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, left in place an injunction by a Federal District Court judge in Brownsville, Tex. The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states against actions President Obama took in November. Many of the initiatives were scheduled to take effect this month.
The appeals court found that the states had sufficient legal grounds to bring the lawsuit and that the administration had not shown that it would be harmed if the injunction remained in place and the programs were further delayed.
Also denied was a request by the administration to limit the injunction to the states bringing the lawsuit. The ruling is a second setback for programs the president hoped would be a major piece of his legacy, raising new uncertainty about whether they will take effect before the end of his term and casting doubts on the confidence of administration lawyers that their case was very strong.
Demonstrators outside federal appeals court in New Orleans last month. A panel of the court decided Tuesday not to lift a hold on President Obama’s immigration executive actions. Credit Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
The lawsuit was filed in December, and on Feb. 16, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Federal District Court in Brownsville ordered a preliminary injunction on the programs while he ruled on the constitutional issues in the suit.
In a statement, Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, said Mr. Obama had tried to impose “a drastic change in immigration policy” without the consent of Congress. The appeals court decision is “a victory for those committed to preserving the rule of law in America,” Mr. Paxton said. “We will continue to fight the brazen lawlessness that has become a trademark of the Obama administration.”
White House officials said the ruling was not surprising, but they declined to discuss the next legal move for the administration.
“Today, two judges of the Fifth Circuit chose to misrepresent the facts and the law,” a White House spokeswoman, Brandi Hoffine, said. “The president’s actions were designed to bring greater accountability to our broken immigration system, grow the economy and keep our communities safe. They are squarely within the bounds of his authority, and they are the right thing to do for the country.”
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