Twenty-six states that had persuaded a federal judge last month to delay the Obama administration’s new policy on deferring deportation of more than four million undocumented immigrants argued on Tuesday that there was no emergency, so no need to let the policy go into effect.
The filing in a federal trial court in Brownsville, Texas, urged the judge to reject a Justice Department plea to put his ruling on hold while it challenges it in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Under the judge’s ruling, the states contended, the government can still use its discretion about which immigrants to order deported, or which to allow a right to remain in the country. All that it is barred from doing, they said, is granting new benefits, like work permits and drivers’ licenses, plus the special benefit of officislly designated “legal presence” in the U.S. Only Congress could do that, the judge found, and the states asked him to make sure those benefits do not go forward.
The judge is expected to act quickly, probably setting the stage for the Justice Department to move on up in the appeal process. It seems likely that the issue of the timing of the new policy could wind up in the Supreme Court.