The Obama administration will attempt to lift a judge's order putting President Barack Obama's new deportation relief programs on hold, the White House announced on Friday.
The Justice Department will seek a stay of a preliminary injunction by a Texas federal judge that halted the implementation of Obama's programs, which could defer deportations and offer work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the paperwork would be filed no later than Monday.
"There is a solid legal foundation for the president to take the steps that he announced late last year to reform our broken immigration system," Earnest said, according to USA Today.
The administration has faced mounting pressure from immigrant rights groups to take immediate action in response to the order from District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen.
Led by Texas, 26 states sued the federal government last year arguing that Obama's immigration programs, which were enacted unilaterally, violated the Constitution. Hanen's order effectively stopped the programs from going into effect until the merits of the case could be decided.
The stay request will likely reach the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which could take several weeks to decide whether to lift Hanen's injunction. If the stay is granted, the Obama administration could resume implementing the programs.
At the same time, the administration is planning to file a broader appeal of the judge's order, part of a legal battle over the president's immigration plan that could last months.
Immigrant rights advocates applauded the administration's decision to pursue a stay.
“The Department of Justice’s request for a stay demonstrates the solid commitment by President Obama to immigrant families across the country that he will use every tool at his disposal to defend and support" the programs, Lupe Lopez, interim director of the Alliance for Citizenship, said in a statement.
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.