The Department of Justice on Friday formally appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn a court order blocking the president’s executive actions on immigration.
The Obama administration is moving quickly to try and get the case before the high court. The petition was filed just over a week after a federal appeals court decided to keep an injunction in place that has prevented the programs from taking effect.
The administration’s move sets up a high-stakes court battle over Obama’s immigration policies in the midst of an election year.
If justices agree to hear the case soon, it could set up a potential ruling in June, when the court’s current term ends.
Immigrant rights groups applauded the Obama administration for acting quickly to get the case before the court.
“With this swift filing by the Department of Justice for Supreme Court review, the court has plenty of time to hear the case this term and provide stability to the millions of families stuck in legal limbo,” Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement.
Texas and 25 other states suing the administration over the programs have 30 days to formally file their own brief, in which they would likely ask the court to turn down the appeal.
After an immigration reform bill died in Congress, Obama last November announced up to 5 million illegal immigrants would be eligible for deportation reprieves and work permits if they met certain conditions.
Republicans slammed the initiatives as executive overreach.
“The president clearly acted outside the law when he went around Congress to unilaterally change our nation’s immigration laws, and I’m confident the State of Texas will ultimately prevail in this case,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a statement.
- This story was updated at 12:14 p.m.