Justice Department to Supreme Court: Rule On Immigration Quickly

Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com

The Justice De­part­ment on Fri­day form­ally asked the Su­preme Court to rule on Pres­id­ent Obama’s im­mig­ra­tion pro­grams, as soon as pos­sible.

A lower court’s or­der bar­ring im­ple­ment­a­tion of the im­mig­ra­tion pro­gram war­rants “im­me­di­ate re­view,” the Justice De­part­ment said, call­ing the rul­ing an “un­pre­ced­en­ted and mo­ment­ous” in­tru­sion in­to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment’s au­thor­ity over im­mig­ra­tion policy.

“The court of ap­peals’ judg­ment en­joins na­tion­wide a fed­er­al policy of great im­port­ance to fed­er­al law en­force­ment, to many States, and to mil­lions of fam­il­ies with long­stand­ing and close con­nec­tions with this coun­try,” the Justice De­part­ment said in its brief.

The Justice De­part­ment wants the Su­preme Court to in­ter­vene, and to rule quickly, be­cause that’s the only way Obama will get to carry out the pro­gram, which would de­fer de­port­a­tion for un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants whose chil­dren are U.S. cit­izens.

If the high court doesn’t take the case, doesn’t is­sue its rul­ing be­fore the 2016 elec­tions, or doesn’t side with the White House, Obama will not be able to im­ple­ment the de­ferred-ac­tion policy be­fore he leaves of­fice.

A group of 26 states, led by Texas, chal­lenged the im­mig­ra­tion policy in court al­most as soon as it was an­nounced. And the 5th Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals sided with the states, rul­ing that Obama’s ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tions ex­ceeded his au­thor­ity as pres­id­ent and should have been sub­ject to no­tice-and-com­ment rule­mak­ing.

The Justice De­part­ment ar­gued in its brief Fri­day that the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment has well-re­cog­nized au­thor­ity to de­cide whom to de­port, and that Texas shouldn’t have been able to bring its law­suit in the first place.

“If left un­dis­turbed, (the 5th Cir­cuit’s) rul­ing will al­low States to frus­trate the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment’s en­force­ment of the Na­tion’s im­mig­ra­tion laws. It will force mil­lions of people—who are not re­mov­al pri­or­it­ies un­der cri­ter­ia the court con­ceded are val­id, and who are par­ents of U.S. cit­izens and per­man­ent res­id­ents—to con­tin­ue to work off the books, without the op­tion of law­ful em­ploy­ment to provide for their fam­il­ies,” the Justice De­part­ment wrote.

(Image via Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec