WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) — A federal appeals court upheld a ruling blocking the Obama administration’s executive action to defer deportation for more than 4 million undocumented immigrants, paving the way for a Supreme Court battle over the president’s key second-term initiative.
A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said the lower court “did not err and most assuredly did not abuse its discretion” in a challenge brought by Texas and 25 other states with Republican governors who sought to block President Barack Obama‘s 2014 immigration initiative.
Opponents to Obama’s executive action argue the administration overreached its power to allow millions of immigrant families protections that include three-year work permits under the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. The ruling continues to block DAPA and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for work authorization and protection from deportation for three years.
The White House said it strongly disagrees with the court ruling and the departments of Homeland Security and Justice will review the ruling to determine the next steps.
“The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws,” the statement read. “This lawsuit is preventing people who have been part of our communities for years from working on the books, contributing to our economy by paying taxes on that work, and being held accountable.”
The appeals-court ruling was widely expected after a three-judge panel from the same court rejected in May the administration’s request to quickly throw a lifeline to the injunction.
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders weighed in on the issue Monday afternoon, saying he would expand the president’s executive action to create a pathway to citizenship in the first 100 days of his tenure if elected president.
“We cannot and must not sweep up millions of men, women and children, many of whom have been here for years, and throw them out of this country,” he said. “As president, passing a legislative solution to our broken immigration system will be a top priority. But let me be clear — I will not wait around for Congress to act.”