Feds stop prep for challenged immigration program
WASHINGTON - The Homeland Security Department is ceasing preparations for a program designed to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. That decision comes as a result of Monday's federal court ruling temporarily halting it.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says his agency will stop working on the program to protect parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents until further notice.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued a temporary injunction, giving a coalition of 26 states including Louisiana time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders.
The ruling means that the Homeland Security Department also won't be accepting applications for an expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was to start Wednesday. The effort to protect immigrant parents living in the country illegally was to start in May.
The White House said the Justice Department will appeal the ruling. They said Monday's decision "wrongly prevents" the president's "lawful, commonsense policies" from taking effect. The White House said that the Justice Department, legal scholars, immigration experts and the federal district court in Washington have determined that Obama's actions are well within his legal authority.
Republicans praised the judge's ruling. House Speaker John Boehner said the order underscores that the president acted beyond his authority. Boehner said he hoped that Senate Democrats will relent in their opposition to a Homeland Security Department spending bill that overturns Obama's actions to spare millions of immigrants from deportation.
The department's funding expires Feb. 27 and Congress has only a few legislative days to act.