On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling blocking the Obama Administration from implementing its new immigration policies, and allowing Texas and 25 other states to pursue their legal challenge.
The administration had asked that it be allowed to continue its new policies while the government continues to litigate the case; however, the court found, in a 2-1 decision, that Texas has the right to challenge the immigration policies because of potential costs to the state, and also found the federal government is “unlikely” to succeed in its fight to stop the lawsuit.
Congressional opponents of immigration reform, including Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, praised the ruling. Meanwhile, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a strong supporter of reform, said the ruling could affect the 2016 presidential campaign. “The longer the court process takes, the harder it is to imagine a Republican candidate remains competitive in a bid for the White House, because increasingly, this will be the defining and decisive 2016 campaign issue,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department said the government will not appeal the Appeals Court ruling, but rather that it will focus on winning the underlying preliminary injunction, noting that argument is expected to be heard the week of July 6.
Some legal experts are predicting that the lengthy legal processes may mean that the president’s administrative actions never go into effect, or go into effect so late in the administration that undocumented immigrants would be hesitant to sign up for programs that could be ended when a new president takes office in 2017.