Judge halts key part of Obama immigration plan

17 Feb 15

UNITED STATES

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling late Monday, temporarily blocking implementation of a key part of the Obama administration’s program to protect roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen said that if the administration’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program is found to be unlawful once it has already been implemented, states could face “irreparable harm.” They would be faced with the “substantially difficult–if not impossible–task of retracting any benefits or licenses” provided under the program, the judge said.

“This genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote.

The case was brought by 26 states against the administration. The ruling only addressed the issue of whether DAPA and an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be temporarily halted while the lawsuit is pending. The temporary injunction did not address the merits of the states’ case, nor did it cover the administration’s proposed policies related to high-skilled workers.

The Obama administration said Tuesday that it will appeal the decision and issued a statement reaffirming its position that the administration’s actions are legal.

“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 said in a statement, adding, “The district court’s decision wrongly prevents … lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.”

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