US asks Texas judge to suspend immigration ruling

Washington (AFP) – The US government asked a federal judge in Texas who derailed President Barack Obama’s immigration initiatives to suspend his decision, allowing programs protecting millions of undocumented immigrants to move forward pending an appeal.

Obama had used his executive power to bypass Congress and make controversial changes to the US immigration system that would provide protection and work permits to about four million undocumented foreigners.

But a US district court judge in Texas found last week that Obama had not followed necessary procedures to implement such a wide-ranging plan.

The White House quickly condemned the decision and vowed to fight to get the executive-action programs implemented.

Justice Department lawyers asked Judge Andrew Hanen Monday to stay his decision because Obama’s immigration program is a necessary to effectively police the border and protect national security.

Government lawyers will later formally appeal Hanen’s ruling.

The White House claims having immigration authorities police millions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants distracts them from more pressing threats to national security.

Obama’s new program would protect undocumented immigrants who have not committed crimes and have children who are American citizens or residents.

Twenty-six states, almost all Republican governed, had asked the federal court in Texas to block Obama’s immigration program on grounds he had acted unlawfully.

Immigration reform has long been a hot-button issue in Washington where many lawmakers agree the US system needs to change but rarely agree on how to fix it.

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US asks Texas judge to suspend immigration ruling
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