Federal judge declines to lift immigration order

8 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AM Roundup: Judge Keeps Obama’s Immigration Plan on Hold.

A federal judge in Texas rejected the U.S. The Southern District Court of Texas is hearing a lawsuit from 26 states against the Department of Homeland Security over the executive actions President Obama announced in November he would be taking to extend legal status and work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants.

Department of Justice’s request to lift a temporary block on the Obama administration’s executive action shielding as many as 5 million immigrants from deportation. US district judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, a city along the border with Mexico, rejected a US Justice Department request to remove a ban on the plan he issued in February.

Twenty-six US states filed a lawsuit alleging Obama had exceeded his powers with executive orders that would let up to 4.7m migrants stay in the country without threat of deportation. The US government wants the injunction lifted — allowing Obama’s action to proceed — while it appeals Hanen’s ruling to the 5th US Circuit Court in New Orleans. Another section would upgrade Obama’s 2012 immigration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), by extending the period illegal immigrants would be exempt from deportation from two to three years.

At issue was a US government filing that said some 100,000 people had been given three-year periods of deferred action before the judge’s injunction. “Any premature implementation could have serious consequences, inflicting irreparable harm on our state, and this ruling is key in determining the extent to which the federal government did not present the full truth in this case,” Paxton said. While DOJ reported to the court that the DACA upgrade would not go into effect until Feb. 18 — two days after Hanen issued a temporary injunction against it — the administration belatedly admitted in March that it had already issued the extended amnesty to 100,000 illegal immigrants. (RELATED: Obama Hid 100,000 Amnesty Approval From Texas Judge) “Due to the seriousness of the matters discussed therein, the Court will not rule on any other pending motions until it is clear that these matters, if true, do not impact the pending matters or any rulings previously made by this Court,” Hanen wrote of DOJ’s admission that it had moved forward with the program anyway. The states, led by Texas, argue that the action is unconstitutional and would force them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education.

DOJ nevertheless filed a motion days later asking the court to lift its injunction, because the freeze purportedly interferes with DHS’ “effort to effectively allocate limited enforcement resources.” “At a minimum, however, Defendants have created special circumstances that necessitate further investigation,” Hanen wrote in the order. The ruling requires that DOJ hand over the documentation of all drafts and metadata regarding editing of the March advisory which misled the court on DAPA’s content — and specified that the agency cannot “destroy” or “erase” any data, just in case. That court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to Obama’s 2012 executive action granting deportation relief to immigrants brought to the US illegally as children, upholding a lower court’s earlier ruling. Justice Department attorneys argue that keeping the temporary hold harms “the interests of the public and of third parties who will be deprived of significant law enforcement and humanitarian benefits of prompt implementation” of the president’s immigration action. Obama announced the executive orders in November, saying a lack of action by Congress forced him to make sweeping changes to immigration rules on his own.

Obama has said he prefers for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration overhaul legislation, yet was forced to act after lawmakers repeatedly failed to strike a deal.

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