President Obama’s executive actions on immigration got another day in federal court on Friday and early reports suggest it may not look good for the administration.
Lawyers for the Obama administration asked a three-judge panel at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift an injunction blocking Obama’s November executive order that would grant legal status to five million illegal immigrants currently in the country.
Twenty-six states, led by Texas, have sued the Obama administration over the actions, and a federal court in Texas issued an injunction in February, putting a temporary block on the measure. (RELATED: Federal Court Slaps Down Request To Let Obama’s Amnesty Move Forward)
Two conservative judges on the three-person panel were skeptical about the immigration orders, which were issued without any congressional action, Reuters reports.
Judges Jennifer Elrod and Jerry Smith both expressed doubt about the legality of Obama’s actions. The administration argued that the executive orders don’t give benefits to the five million illegal immigrants they could cover — it just grants relief from prosecution. Elrod was the most openly skeptical of the argument, according to Reuters.
“The executive branch is bound by our legal system and U.S. Constitution — it cannot simply create new laws unilaterally,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who defended the injunction at the Fifth Circuit Friday, said in a statement. “The Obama Administration defied this foundational principle when it bypassed our elected leaders to re-write national immigration policy, granting federal and state benefits to law-breaking immigrants, and when it misled a federal judge over the premature implementation of executive amnesty.”
In another hit against the administration, Judge Andrew Hanen, who issued the injunction, has suggested that the court had been misled by the Justice Department. One part of Obama’s proposed orders would extend his 2012 immigration actions for 1 million immigrants. Although DOJ told the court the action would not begin until after an injunction went into effect, the administration belatedly admitted it had already extended that amnesty to 100,000 people. (RELATED: Obama Hid 100,000 Amnesty Approvals From Texas Judge)