Court Refuses To Lift Hold On Obama’s Immigration Action

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the 26 states that challenged President Obama’s executive action on immigration. As Yahoo reports, the U.S. Justice Department asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the temporary stay on the President’s immigration action. On Tuesday, the Justice Department was denied their request.

Since President Obama first announced that he would take action on immigration in November of last year, opponents have been fighting to stop it. In February, the President’s order was put on hold by a Texas judge appealing to a group of Republican governors.

The governors argued that Obama’s executive order is unconstitutional. The order the President signed into law would effectively allow an estimated 4.7 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the country without facing consequence by the government.

Reuters says that two of the three judges on the panel ruled on the side of the states. Judge Jerry Edwin Smith wrote in the conclusion to the court’s opinion that the issue needs to be decided by the federal branches of government.

“I would hold that the underlying issue presented to us—the order in which non-citizens without documentation must be removed from the United States—must be decided, presently is being decided, and always has been decided, by the federal political branches.”

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott voiced his approval of the ruling on his Twitter account.

“Texas just won the Executive Amnesty case at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The constitution wins.”

The twenty-six states wanting to block the President’s immigration order are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

White House spokesperson Brandi Hoffine released a statement in response to the court’s decision, insisting Obama’s immigration order is lawful.

“Today, two judges of the Fifth Circuit chose to misinterpret the facts and the law in denying the government’s request for a stay. As the powerful dissent from Judge Higginson recognizes, President Obama’s immigration executive actions are fully consistent with the law.”

The debate over Obama’s immigration reform may end up in the Supreme Court. If the issue does make it all the way to the Supreme Court, a decision likely wouldn’t be given until next year. Waiting until next year is something that supporters of the immigration order do not want to happen.

[image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]