Skip to Content

Feds deny foot-dragging in court fight over immigration

16 Mar

Lawyers for the Obama Administration are rejecting claims that the federal government has dawdled in its response to an injunction a federal judge issued last months against President Barack Obama’s plan to make millions more illegal immigrants eligible for quasi-legal status and work permits.

When the administration moved last week for an expedited appeal and a stay of U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s order, states challenging Obama’s immigration moves said there was no need for the courts to rush because there was “no urgency” in the approach the federal government had taken to the litigation.

“The suggestion that the Government was dilatory in seeking relief from this Court disregards the actual course of events,” Justice Department lawyers said Monday in a filing with the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. “Far from taking a ‘decidedly unhurried approach’…the Government has moved as promptly as possible, consistent with its obligation under [federal court rules] to seek relief from the district court in the first instance.”

The Justice Department motions lays out most of the relevant timeline in the case, noting that the federal government asked Hanen to stay his order a week after it was entered and took the stay request to the 5th Circuit three days after Hanen issued an order last week indicating he had no plan to rule on a stay until another issue related to the case was resolved.

The pleading doesn’t mention that the feds allowed an earlier deadline of sorts they set to pass without action. Federal government lawyers apparently decided not to provoke Hanen by going directly to the 5th Circuit after he said the states challenging Obama’s actions could have a total of 11 days to respond to the initial stay motion.

Obama pledged last month to be “as aggressive as we can” in the legal fight to overturn Hanen’s order.

The 5th Circuit has yet to rule on the stay request or on the motion to expedite the appeal, but did give states opposed to a stay the full 10 days court rules customarily provide for a response to a stay motion.