Politics

Federal Judge In Texas Halts Obama's Immigration Plan, Dept. Of Justice To Appeal

| by Lisa Fogarty
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A federal judge in Texas ruled to temporarily block President Barack Obama's immigration plan, which would allow undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to defer deportation and gain access to job benefits.

Judge Andrew Hanen reportedly penned a 123-page opinion, in which he called for a temporary injunction that blocks the program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents on the basis that the Department of Homeland Security did not allow for public comment on the president's executive action, reports USA Today.

The opinion was written after Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit in December on behalf of Texas and 25 other states. 

"President Obama abdicated his responsibility to uphold the United States Constitution when he attempted to circumvent the laws passed by Congress via executive fiat, and Judge Hanen's decision rightly stops the president's overreach in its tracks," Abbott said in a statement. "We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the President's attempt to by-pass the will of the American people was successfully checked today."

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The first of Obama's programs was scheduled to begin receiving applications from immigrants on Wednesday and Hanen's ruling will likely affect up to 270,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, reports The New York Times

The White House responded to the injunction in a statement Tuesday in which it supported the president's right to take executive action.

"The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and the district court in Washington, D.C., have determined that the president’s actions are well within his legal authority,” the White House statement said. “The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, common sense policies from taking effect, and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision." 

Obama has argued that his programs would help enforcement agents concentrate on deporting criminals and others who are draining the system, while allowing hard-working people to stay and contribute to the American economy.

His programs were opposed by three Republican senators and 65 Republican House members, who signed a legal brief against Obama that was filed by the American Center for Law and Justice. Those who support him include lawmakers in Washington and 11 other states, including the District of Columbia, as well as the mayors of 33 cities, including Los Angeles and New York. 

"The strong entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants to the United States has significantly boosted local economies and local labor markets," the mayors wrote in their filing.

Sources: USA Today, The New York Times

Photo Credit: BeckyF/Flickr, WikiCommons