The department has also filed a notice of appeal to the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals.
Despite Sessions' request to go straight to the Supreme Court, the case must first go through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has previously blocked President Donald Trump's other immigration policies, such as a ban on immigration from certain majority-Muslim countries.
At issue is a ruling by federal District Judge William Alsup who blocked the plan to end DACA and said the Trump administration must resume receiving DACA renewal applications.
The Justice Department did not file an emergency application that, if successful, would result in the judge's ruling being put on hold within days.
A Ninth Circuit appeal would require "many months of delay", forcing the government "to retain in place a discretionary policy that sanctions the ongoing violation of federal law by more than half a million people", Justice Department lawyers said, apparently contending that participants in the current program are lawbreakers.
That program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, also grants work permits to about 700,000 immigrants brought to this country illegally by their parents.
About 800,000 young, mostly Hispanic adults dubbed "Dreamers", have been protected from deportation and allowed to work legally in the United States since the program was implemented.
DOJ argued that former Acting Secretary Elaine DukeElaine Costanzo DukeJustice Department to appeal court's DACA ruling Trump officials end immigration protection for 260K Salvadorans Mayors ask administration to extend immigration program for El Salvador MORE's September decision to rescind the DACA program was a "policy enforcement" decision that's within the powers of a federal agency and can't be reviewed under the Administrative Procedure Act. His administration has allowed current recipients to apply for renewals of their status until March 5.
"I am confident the appellate courts will see the logic and justice behind the district court's issuance of the preliminary injunction against the termination of the DACA program", he said in a statement. Those states had successfully challenged another Obama order that would have shielded parents of legal USA residents from deportation.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in a court filing that the lower court ruling was "unprecedented". He said they had all been "thoroughly vetted by the Department of Homeland Security" but were now being used as "a bargaining chip by the administration to get its way when it comes to immigration policy".
While Judge Alsup issued a sharp rejoinder to the Trump Administration on its decision to rescind DACA, seeming to base the decision on his determination that the legal rationale provided by Attorney General Jeff Sessions for rescinding this exercise of executive discretion was inadequate, there is reason to believe that the victory for the plaintiffs will be short-lived.