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White House Hopes To Move Forward With Immigration Order On Monday

President Obama's executive action on immigration was blocked Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 by a Texas federal judge.
Tamir Kalifa
Texas Tribune
President Obama's executive action on immigration was blocked Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 by a Texas federal judge.

The Obama administration will ask a court on Monday to allow the president’s controversial immigration order to move forward after a Texas judge halted the program this week.

“The Department of Justice has made a decision to file a stay in this case,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday, according to a transcript of a news conference. “I would anticipate that they will file documents at the district court level on Monday at the latest.”

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen  blocked the executive action, which was announced in November. The policy would have allowed an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants — including some 1.46 million in Texas — to apply for a work permit and a reprieve from deportation.

Earnest said the stay request is separate from an appeal of the ruling,  which the administration still plans to file. If the stay is granted, the administration could begin accepting applications for the program, which it was slated to begin doing on Wednesday. But Earnest added there is no certain timeline if the stay is issued.

“[The appeal] was something that we announced in the immediate aftermath of the decision,” he said. “And we will seek that appeal because we believe that when you evaluate the legal merits of the arguments, that 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.”

Hanen, of Brownsville, ruled in a 123-page opinion that the Obama administration violated " The Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the way regulations are made and how much input the public has. 

But he did not reject the case based on whether the president had the authority to change immigration laws by circumventing Congress.

Gov. Greg Abbott, the state's former attorney general, filed the lawsuit before being sworn in as governor. Calls to the governor’s office and current Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking comment were not immediately returned.

In a news conference Thursday, Abbott said, “I am confident that as this case works its way up through the appellate process, we will continue to win.”

 The Texas Tribune provided this story

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Julian Aguilar Texas Tribune