The Texas judge who put the brakes on President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform has been given an ultimatum by the White House to suspend his order or have his authority superseded by the Justice Department. US District Judge Andrew Hanen has been given until the end of Wednesday to rescind his order voluntarily; otherwise, the Obama administration will go straight to the appeals court.
The ultimatum is seen as an escalation on the part of the president against a coalition formed by the predominantly Republican-governed states that have taken legal action to try to stop his decision to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. If Hanen decides to play along, deferred action applications could start to be processed by federal authorities even as the states’ lawsuit progresses.
In papers filed yesterday in Brownsville federal court, the Justice Department declared that Hanen had wrongly interpreted federal statutes regarding the rights of states to “interfere with federal enforcement discretion in the federal courts.”“The preliminary injunction was entered at the urging of states that unquestionably lack any authority over the nation’s immigration policies”, the Justice Department claimed, adding that allowing Hanen’s opinion to stand “would mark a significant expansion of the powers of the federal judiciary and the states.”
The White House has also informed the judge that prioritizing federal resources and deciding how to enforce laws regarding immigration are at the discretion of the administration as it sees fit.