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Appeals Court Deals Setback to Obama’s Immigration Plan

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President Barack ObamaPhotograph by Mandel Ngan — AFP/Getty Images

The 5th U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans has blocked President Obama’s executive action plan preventing the deportation of certain illegal immigrants.

Obama announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan last November. It would have opened up applications to illegal immigrants for a deferred action program that would allow them to remain in the country for three years with the possibility of renewal. The program, as reported by Fox News, would have favored illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children, as well as the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

The executive action was halted in February when U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen granted a temporary injunction after 26 states challenged the action in court. Judge Hanen’s ruling was upheld yesterday in a 2-1 decision by the appeals court.

Supporters of this decision believe that legalizing so many people would be “virtually irreversible” and cause “irreparable harm” to the states involved, adding that the executive action would have been an illegal overreach of Obama’s power.

Dissenters, including the Justice Department, say that the Department for Homeland Security doesn’t have enough resources to deport every illegal immigrant living in the country and Obama’s executive action would have allowed the department to prioritize the removal of the worst offenders.

Judge Carolyn King argued this point in her dissent:

Although there are approximately 11.3 million removable aliens in this country today, for the last several years Congress has provided the Department of Homeland Security with only enough resources to remove approximately 400,000 of those aliens per year.

This ruling is not the final word regarding Obama’s plan. Fox News writes that appeals could go on for months.