WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice will seek a stay on a federal judge's ruling that brought a temporary halt to immigration programs created by executive action, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday. The federal government would like the programs to be able to move forward until an appeals court examines the lower judge's ruling.
The stay will be filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans by next Monday at the latest, and will be in addition to an appeal, he said.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issued an order last Monday to temporarily halt the Obama administration from starting policies that could eventually allow as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants to receive work authorization. The programs are now on hold as the judge considers a case brought by 26 states over the constitutionality of the policies.
President Barack Obama announced plans in November to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, that gives work permits and the ability to stay in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. He also announced the creation of a new program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, that would do the same for parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
The states' lawsuit, led by Texas, contends that the programs are unconstitutional and would impose a burden on their governments.
The president said earlier this week that he remains confident the policies are lawful and will eventually be allowed to proceed. Earnest echoed that point on Friday.
"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," Earnest said at a press briefing.