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Judge Stops Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration
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A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the president's executive actions.

Summary: A federal court judge has issued a ruling that has brought Obama’s immigration measures to a standstill while the constitutionality of the issue is debated.

According to the Huffington Post, a federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction that will stop, at least temporarily, the Obama administration from proceeding with its executive actions on immigration. A court must make a ruling before President Obama and his team can take further action.

  
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House Speaker Boehner planned to attack the efforts at the end of January.

The ruling, made by Judge Andrew Hanan, who presides over the U.S. District Court located in Brownsville, Texas, was the first roadblock facing the president regarding the executive action. According to USA Today, the judge’s opinion was 123 pages long. Many predict that a long court battle awaits the president as to whether he exceeded his constitutional authority when he presented the executive orders last November.

The current injunction does not imply that President Obama’s actions were illegal. It simply prevents the administration from acting upon them until a court has ruled on the constitutionality of the matter.

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It is likely that the federal government will appeal Judge Hanan’s decision.

The effects of the ruling are immediate. One of the president’s actions was scheduled to take place on February 18. This was the date selected for the administration to start accepting applications for a broader version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program gives children who arrived in the United States as undocumented immigrants the right to remain there and become legally employed.



In December, another federal court ruled that the executive orders were unconstitutional.

However, those immigrants who were eligible for the program under its expansion will now have to wait while the lawsuit is pending in the courts. The Obama administration will also be unable to proceed with a similar program that was created under executive action. This program would offer similar benefits to undocumented immigrants who are the parents of legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens.

According to Judge Hanan’s ruling, the 26 states that brought the lawsuit against the Obama administration had proper standing, and the judge hinted that he was sympathetic to their cause. The lawsuit, which was filed in December, is led by Texas. Other states named as parties include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The complaint alleges that the executive actions taken by the president violate the Constitution, and that if they move forward, they would cause “dramatic and irreparable injuries” to the states. Fox News adds that the judge opined, “The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” and that he agreed with the plaintiff states’ position that legalizing millions of people would be “irreversible.”

It added, “This lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about the rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.”

The White House has argued that the president was within his authority to issue the executive actions, and that the new policies will allow immigration enforcement agents to target higher-priority offenders, such as those who may be national threats, those convicted of crimes, and those who have crossed the border recently.

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White House press secretary Josh Earnest issued a statement that defended the president’s actions, which he argued “are consistent with the laws passed by Congress and decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as five decades of precedent by presidents of both parties who have used their authority to set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws.”

Earnest added, “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. Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.”

Many legal experts argue that Obama’s actions are lawful.

Attorneys general from the District of Columbia, as well as twelve states, signed an amicus brief that supported the president’s actions and requested that the judge not issue an injunction. In that brief, they argued, “The truth is that the directives will substantially benefit states, will further the public interest, and are well within the President’s broad authority to enforce immigration law.”

These executive actions are the heart of a congressional gridlock over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. Disagreement may result in shutdown of the agency if funding runs out on February 27. Many Republicans firmly state that they will only support funding for the department if the bill includes language that will stop the president’s immigration policies. However, Democrats in the Senate are blocking these measures. Additionally, the president has said that he would veto a bill of this nature that landed on his desk.

The court ruling may have significant effects on funding the Department of Homeland Security. If the president’s actions will not go forward due to the pending court case, many Republicans would be more likely to support a funding bill without such immigration measures.

Source: Huffington Post

Photo credit: ramirezgroup.com



 

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