WASHINGTON -- As a lawsuit from 26 states continues to stall President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, officials from other states are becoming increasingly fiery in the president's defense.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) told reporters on Friday that the states that sued the federal government to halt relief for undocumented immigrants are "declaring war" on those immigrants and the people who support them.
"They are taking a stand against a very large group of people who tens of millions of Americans identify with and sympathize with," he said in remarks outside the White House. "I would say the Republican position at best is troglodyte and at worst un-Christian."
The lawsuit concerns Obama's November 2014 executive actions on immigration, which would grant deportation relief and work authorization to millions of undocumented immigrants. The states that brought the suit, most of which are led by Republicans, charged that they would face "dramatic and irreparable injuries" if the programs moved forward.
But Democrats are aiming to prove that it isn't a state vs. federal government issue, and that some states stand firmly behind the president. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief Thursday arguing that the programs are both constitutional and beneficial to the states. In addition to the 12 states that signed on to a previous amicus brief, two more joined: Delaware and Rhode Island.
The Obama administration was dealt a small setback earlier Friday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit declined the Justice Department's request for a speedy decision on whether to lift an injunction on the programs. Instead of giving the states that brought the suit just a week to respond to the request to lift the injunction, the appeals court announced Friday that it would give them the typical 10 days.
The Justice Department contends that the delay in implementing the programs "irreparably harms the Government and the public interest" because it detracts from the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to carry out immigration enforcement and border security.
The amicus brief from the states that support the programs asked that at the very least, the injunction be applied only to the states that sued to stop them.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D), whose state signed on to the amicus brief, penned an op-ed for the Washington Post on Thursday saying the executive actions would be good for the economy, public safety and undocumented immigrants across the country.
"The reality is that our states and nation will benefit from the president’s immigration reforms," he wrote. "Delay is our enemy."
Brown, whose state also signed on, said he agreed the programs are beneficial.
"The president has to decide how to deploy his homeland security resources and he's doing it in a way that is perfectly legal, number one," he said. "And number two, the idea this is harming the state is just patently absurd. There is no harm, and therefore their so-called standing is very dubious at best."