The Obama administration promised Tuesday to fight against opposition from both the courts and Congress to keep in place its expansive new programs to shield millions of immigrants from deportation, a key piece of the president’s effort to shape his legacy in his final years in office.
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A federal judge in Texas issued an order late Monday that temporarily blocked the administration from putting into effect President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The ruling touched off a day of cheering by Republicans, logistical and legal scrambling in the White House and vigorous efforts by advocates around the country to reassure potential applicants that they shouldn’t give up.
The administration said it would swiftly appeal the order, which came less than 48 hours before immigration officials were scheduled to begin accepting applications for the first of the programs to defer deportation.
Despite that setback, the president predicted that courts would ultimately uphold his efforts as lawful.
“The law is on our side and history is on our side,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office. “This is not the first time where a lower court judge has blocked something, or attempted to block something, that is ultimately going to be lawful. And I’m confident that it is well within my authority.”
This is not the first time where a lower court judge has blocked something, or attempted to block something, that is ultimately going to be lawful. – Said Obama
For now, though, his administration put on hold plans to start its expansion Wednesday of the 2012 program that has shielded from deportation nearly 600,000 young people, so-called Dreamers, and a much larger effort to defer action on deportations that could apply to about 4 million adults living in the U.S. illegally.