Justice Dept. Requests Delay if DACA Injunction Is Issued

Justice Dept. Requests Delay if DACA Injunction Is Issued

By Louis Lucero II

Responding to Texas’ request for an injunction in its challenge of the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Justice Department filed a response late Friday night asking that if one is issued, it be delayed, while making a point of agreeing with the state and several others who claim “that DACA is unlawful.”

The federal government is being sued by Texas and six other states to dismantle the immigration policy, which was put in place by the Obama administration in 2012. It enables individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the country without fear of deportation and grants them work permits.

The Justice Department’s resistance to Texas’ request is purely circumstantial: If ordered, the government argues, such an injunction would conflict with separate nationwide injunctions that have already been issued by courts in California and New York, and subject the agency to “inconsistent obligations.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement official has been broadly defined by his pursuit of immigration restrictions, remains deeply opposed to DACA.

The lawsuit, which was filed last month, asserts that the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas has the authority to “immediately rescind and cancel all DACA permits currently in existence because they are unlawful.” It also asks that the court block the United States “from issuing or renewing DACA permits in the future, effectively phasing out the program within two years.”

In the event that the court does grant the injunction, the Justice Department requested that the order be stayed for two weeks to allow it to seek emergency relief of the other injunctions. “A stay would facilitate the orderly resolution of the litigation over the DACA policy,” it said in its response.

Daniel M. Kowalski, an immigration lawyer, said early Saturday that the department’s filing highlighted the fact that only Congress is capable of achieving a meaningful solution to the current impasse. “Immigration policy made by court rulings, agency memos and executive orders is not adequate to the task at hand,” he said.

Miriam Jordan contributed reporting.

Follow Louis Lucero II on Twitter: @Louis_II.

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