Friday, January 16, 2015

Hearing in Federal Court on Obama's Immigration Initiatives, Bill Dismantling Initiatives headed to the Senate

The Obama administration inititives announced in November continue to make the news.

Yesterday, according to news reports (and here), a federal judge pushed an attorney representing the federal government to explain the legal authority behind President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, which a coalition of 25 states has sued to try to stop in Texas v. United States.  (A number of states have submitted a brief in support of the executive actions.).  U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen heard arguments on a request for a preliminary injunction. The first of Obama's orders is set to start accepting applications on February 18.

"While Hanen at times grilled U.S. Department of Justice attorney Kathleen Hartnett to detail how the federal government can justify legal action which could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally, the judge was measured and cordial throughout the more than three-hour hearing as he questioned lawyers from both sides. Hanen said he would not issue a ruling on the injunction request before Jan. 30."

On Wednsesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to overturn President Obama's November immigration actions and to unravel the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, sending the bill to the Senate where it faces an uncertain fate. The House voted 236-191 to approve the legislation, which funds the Homeland Security Department through the rest of the budget year, but also includes provisions to gut the president's immigration directives.  The White House has "blasted" the House proposal.

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