Feds take immigration case to Fifth Circuit

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Going over the head of a federal judge in Texas, the Justice Department moved Thursday to shift the legal battle over the President’s executive actions on immigration to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a bid by the Obama Administration to end an injunction against implementation of plans that would allow over 4 million people now in the U.S. illegally to remain on a temporary basis.

The Justice Department said the action on its request for an emergency stay was needed “in light of the urgent circumstances and critical federal interests at issue,” with respect to the President’s immigration actions.

“The Federal Government seeks an immediate stay pending appeal of a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Department of Homeland Security,” the Justice Department argued in its brief to the Fifth Circuit.

Twice before, the Justice Department had threatened to go to the appeals court level, but the feds had let a pair of deadlines come and go without action – the latest was on Monday.

Instead of ruling on the government’s request for a stay of his initial injunction, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen set a hearing for March 19 on why the Obama Administration had seemingly started implementing the President’s executive actions in November, well before the advertised start date of February 18.

In today’s filing, the Justice Department made clear it would still attend that hearing, even as the Justice Department takes its legal fight to the Fifth Circuit.

“The district court’s order is unprecedented and wrong,” the Justice Department argued in its submission to the appeals court. “The Constitution does not entitle States to intrude into the uniquely federal domain of immigration enforcement.”

The Justice Department has asked for a ruling within two weeks.

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