Court Rules Against Obama's Executive Action To Protect Undocumented Immigrants

metal border fence

The fifth US circuit court of appeals upheld an injunction against President Barack Obama's executive action to keep millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported. A supreme court appeal is now the only thing that could reverse the decision and allow his action to move forward.

The appeals court denied the government's appeal to stay the May injunction “after determining that the appeal was unlikely to succeed on its merits," it said in its ruling, according to the Guardian.

In Nov. 2014, Obama announced that he would take executive action to help immigrants, since Congress had not progressed with legislative reform. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which protects young immigrants illegally brought into the US as children from deportation, faced criticism from Republicans who say that the programs protects lawbreakers.

The 26 Republican-led states that challenged Obama's executive action argued that the federal government went beyond its authority in demanding that the states protect whole categories of immigrants by asking the Department of Homeland Security to employ discretion when considering deportation for non-violent undocumented immigrants who have familial connections in the US.

Although the federal government constitutionally has exclusive control over immigration law, the states worked around this by arguing that the Obama administration's actions place a burden on them by forcing them to either provide services to undocumented immigrants or change their laws to avoid doing so, notes the Atlantic. Texas contended that a "lawful presence" of immigrants would force the state to provide them with "state subsidized driver's licenses" and unemployment insurance.

Judges so far have sided with the states, on the grounds that the Obama administration is overstepping its authority and interfering with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

"The INA flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization,” Judge Jerry Smith wrote in his majority opinion, according to the Atlantic.

Sources: Guardian, Atlantic/ Photo Credit: Steve Hillebrand/Public Domain Images

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