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

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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

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US Preschoolers on Government Food Aid Grown Less Pudgy: Study

Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016

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US, Preschoolers, Government
A photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in a Federal building in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2019. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found. A photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in a Federal building in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2019. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). VOA

Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found, offering fresh evidence that previous signs of declining obesity rates weren’t a fluke.

Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016 — the latest data available — from 16% in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

“It gives us more hope that this is a real change,” said Heidi Blanck, who heads obesity prevention at the CDC.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

US, Preschoolers, Government
Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy. VOA

The improvement affected youngsters ages 2 through 4 who receive food vouchers and other services in the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. About 1 in 5 U.S. kids that age were enrolled in 2016.

An earlier report involving program participants the same age found at least small declines in obesity in 18 states between 2008 and 2011. That was the first decline after years of increases that later plateaued, and researchers weren’t sure if it was just a blip.

Improvements in food options in that program including adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains may have contributed to the back-to-back obesity declines, researchers said. Other data show obesity rates in 2016 were stable but similar, about 14 percent, for children aged 2 to 5 who were not enrolled in the program, Blanck noted.

While too many U.S. children are still too heavy, the findings should be celebrated, said Dr. William Dietz, a former CDC obesity expert. “The changes are meaningful and substantial.”

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Dietz said program changes that cut the amount of juice allowed and switched from high-fat to low-fat milk likely had the biggest impact. He estimated that amounted to an average of 9,000 fewer monthly calories per child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends low-fat milk for children. It also suggests kids should limit juice intake and choose fresh fruits instead.

Further reducing U.S. childhood obesity will require broader changes — such as encouraging families and day care centers to routinely serve fruits, vegetables and whole grains; and employers to extend parental leave to make breastfeeding easier for new mothers, said Maureen Black, a child development and nutrition specialist at the University of Maryland.

Studies have shown breastfed infants are less likely than others to become obese later on. (VOA)