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Appeals court rules against Obama on immigration program

The Washington Post

A federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to allow one of President Obama’s signature immigration proposals to move forward, throwing into doubt whether the program will even begin before the president leaves office.

In a split 2-to-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans denied the Obama administration’s emergency request to lift a lower court’s injunction on a new initiative to defer the deportations of illegal immigrants and grant them work permits.

Obama announced the program through executive action in November, after House Republicans blocked an effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform in Congress. The president said the federal government does not have resources to remove all of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants and must focus on hardened criminals and potential terrorists.

But Texas and 25 other states sued the administration, calling the move unconstitutional, and U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Tex., ruled in February that the launch of the expanded program should be put on hold until the case is resolved.

The Obama administration sought an immediate stay from the 5th Circuit last month, arguing that the states lacked the legal authority to sue the U.S. government over policies that relate to federal control of the nation’s borders.

The 5th Circuit panel rejected that argument Tuesday. In a 68-page ruling, Judge Jerry Smith stated that Hanen’s injunction will remain in place because the administration is “unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal.”

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