Obama immigration reform to aid undocumented Irish blocked by judge
A US federal judge has temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's immigration reforms that could have benefited up to 50,000 illegal Irish immigrants.
Ruling in favour of about two dozen states opposed to the plan, Texas District Judge Andrew Hanen filed an order barring the Obama administration from carrying out the reform programme aimed at helping some 4.4 million illegal immigrants whose children are US citizens.
Texas and 25 other States had filed a lawsuit against the initiative, claiming it would cause "dramatic and irreparable injuries" to them.
Judge Hanen ruled that President Obama had overstepped his authority and that the administration had failed to comply with the “basic procedures” for putting such sweeping reforms into place.
In a statement, the White House said it would appeal the decision, adding that the: "Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and the district court in Washington DC had all determined that President Obama did have the legal authority for his executive actions”.
The scheme - an extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals scheme - was due to begin accepting applications on Wedsenday.
The programme that would protect people against deportation provided they had arrived in the US before their 16th birthday and that they had lived continuously in the US since 1 January 2010.
Provided they were a past or present high school student or honourably discharged veteran and could pass a criminal background check, they would be allowed to remain in the US and apply for work permits.
The second main part the reform would have offered protection against deportation for three years to the parents of US citizens or permanent residents provided they have lived in the US illegally for at least five years, passed a background check and paid taxes and social security.