Saturday February 23, 2019
Home World Set back for ...

Set back for Barack Obama, US court rules against immigration programme

0
//
The Obama administration has sought to expand a programme that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the US illegally as children. (IANS)
The Obama administration has sought to expand a programme that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the US illegally as children. (IANS)

Washington: A US federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to allow President Barack Obama’s immigration programme to take effect immediately, putting his immigration policy legacy in jeopardy.

The Obama administration has sought to expand a programme that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the US illegally as children. Five million undocumented immigrants could benefit from the programme, which was announced by Obama through executive action last November, Xinhua reported.

The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans denied the programme in a split 2-to-1 decision. “Because the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction, we deny the motion for stay and the request to narrow the scope of the injunction,” the court said in the decision.

The ruling is welcomed by Texas and 25 other states that are challenging the Obama administration’s plan. The order was first blocked by a Brownsville, Texas lower court judge in February.

In a statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the ruling “a victory for those committed to preserving the rule of law in America”.

“We will continue to fight the brazen lawlessness that has become a trademark of the Obama administration,” Paxton said.

The White House slammed the decision and said that the judges in the 5th Circuit “chose to misinterpret the facts and the law”.

“President Obama’s immigration executive actions are fully consistent with the law,” White House spokesperson Brandi Hoffine said.

“The president’s actions were designed to bring greater accountability to our broken immigration system, grow the economy, and keep our communities safe,” she added.

She said the Justice Department is evaluating the ruling and considering next steps.

-IANS

Next Story

Judge Order Government Find Separated Children at US-Mexico Border

U.S. government had started implementing its policy of separating families months before it was announced “a very significant event.

0
US, judge, children
FILE - Christian, from Honduras, recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House,in El Paso, Texas, June 25, 2018. VOA

A U.S. judge Thursday appeared open to ordering the government to find potentially thousands of additional children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration, which could greatly expand the scope of a lawsuit challenging the separations.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego called a January report by an internal government watchdog that found the U.S. government had started implementing its policy of separating families months before it was announced “a very significant event.”

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a report published earlier this year that the agency had identified many more children in addition to the 2,737 included as part of the class action lawsuit challenging family separations brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year.

children, judge, US
Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego, July 17, 2018. Sabraw, who ordered children be reunited with their families after being separated at the US-Mexico border, may order the government to expand the scope of the reunifications. VOA

ACLU wants all families reunited

In response to the lawsuit, Sabraw ordered the families identified through a court process to be reunited with their children.

The ACLU has petitioned the judge to expand the class to force the government to do a full accounting of any additional separated children.

The premise of the class action lawsuit, Sabraw said, was the “overarching allegation of the unlawful separation” of families by the Trump administration.

“When there’s an allegation of wrong on this scale, one of the most fundamental obligations of law is to determine the scope of the wrong,” he said. “It is important to recognize we are talking about human beings.”

The administration of President Donald Trump implemented a “zero tolerance” policy to criminally prosecute and jail all illegal border crossers, even those traveling with their children, leading to a wave of separations last year. The policy sparked outrage when it became public, and the backlash led Trump to sign an executive order reversing course June 20, 2018.

In light of the Inspector General’s findings, as well as investigative reporting, Sabraw said, the current June 26, 2018, cut-off date for cases to be part of the lawsuit becomes “very arbitrary.”

‘Other galaxy of a task’

Department of Justice attorney Scott Stewart argued that the ACLU’s request to expand the class would blow the case into an “other galaxy of a task.” The government has argued in court papers that it is too labor intensive to find children who were separated and subsequently released to sponsors before the court order last year.

While most of the outrage last year focused on the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, the government has continued to separate families on a smaller scale.

ALSO READ: Trump’s Idea to Siphon Money for Border Wall Meets Resistance

In a filing Wednesday, the government said it had separated 245 children at the border between June 26, 2018, and Feb. 5, 2019. The government said 92 percent of these children were separated because of “parent criminality, prosecution, gang affiliation, or other law enforcement purpose.”

Advocates say there is little transparency about the criteria and evidence used to justify ongoing separations. (VOA)