President Barack Obama won’t ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeals court’s refusal to lift a temporary hold on his immigration program while 26 states challenge it.
The White House will instead turn its attention to an upcoming appeals court fight to block the challenge until a final ruling in the case, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Texas and 25 other states are suing over Obama’s executive action that would allow 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. They persuaded a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, to block the program until he decides whether the president has the power under the Constitution to change immigration policy without congressional approval. That ruling may not come until 2016 as Obama finishes his last year in office.
The Obama administration’s appeal of that order has been fast-tracked by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans. That court is expected to hear arguments in the case during the week of July 6.
A three-judge appeals court panel on Tuesday rejected the federal government’s bid to lift the temporary stay blocking implementation of the program until the challenge plays out.
The Justice Department said in the statement that it’s focusing on its effort to overturn the preliminary injunction. That will resolve the fight more quickly than a further appeal to lift the temporary ban, it said.
“The Department of Justice is committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing deporting the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the U.S. and who are raising American children,” Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman, said the statement.
In Tuesday’s ruling, a majority of the court disagreed with the administration’s argument that the states didn’t have a legal right to challenge the policy. Texas in particular would be forced to spend millions of dollars providing drivers’ licenses and other permits to undocumented immigrants, the judges said.
The appeal is Texas v. U.S., 15-40238, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans). The lower-court case is Texas v. U.S., 1:14-00254, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Brownsville).