The Justice Department plans to ask a federal judge to allow the Obama administration to continue its plans to implement President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration while it appeals the judge’s ruling blocking the order.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday the department will ask for a stay of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who ruled this week to temporarily stop the Homeland Security Department from proceeding with the President’s order.
The stay request will be filed by Monday, Earnest said. Justice Department officials plan to seek an expedited hearing of their appeal, hoping that it can be resolved in the next few months. A stay would allow the administration to continue to prepare to implement the order. DHS said it suspended all such preparation after Hanen’s ruling.
The stay request is widely considered a long shot, at least when it first goes to Hanen. If denied a stay, the Justice Department could then ask for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans, which leans conservative, to intervene and put Hanen’s ruling on hold.
Obama issued the order late last year to shield as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Hanen ruled in a lawsuit brought by 26 states that the administration had failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, which calls for the White House to afford a longer notification and comment period before taking action.
Hanen’s ruling for now accomplishes what Republicans in Congress have sought to do to block funding for DHS to implement the executive order. A standoff in the Senate with Democrats has threatened to cause a partial shutdown of DHS at month’s end because of the funding issue.
Depending on how long it takes to resolve the appeals court fight, the fate of executive order may not be decided until President Obama’s term in office is drawing to a close.