The Obama administration and about a dozen other states that do not support the lawsuit have argued that the programs are constitutional and beneficial to the economy and public safety. They want those programs to be implemented even as the legal battle plays out in court.
The Justice Department had asked Hanen to rule on whether he would reverse his injunction. Instead, he announced that he would make no further rulings in the case until after a hearing on March 19. Now, the Department of Justice, DOJ, is following through on its promise to take the matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The DOJ filing argues that Hanen's order has "taken the extraordinary step of allowing a State to override the United States’ exercise of its enforcement discretion in the immigration law." It also contends that halting the programs "irreparably harms" the federal government's enforcement and security efforts. The DOJ lawyers asked that the appeals court stay the injunction completely or at least allow the programs to move forward in states not involved in the lawsuit.
Later on Thursday, 14 states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief with the 5th Circuit in support of the president's executive actions on immigration. The group includes those that signed an earlier brief that is, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia but also Delaware and Rhode Island, which had previously stayed out of the legal battle. "States will benefit from these immigration reforms," the brief reads. "The amici States should not have to live under an improper injunction based on harms other States incorrectly claim they will suffer."