Judge in Texas orders temporary halt to Obama immigration action

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By Jethro Mullen

(February 17, 2015) — A judge in Texas has issued an injunction temporarily blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration that has drawn opposition from 26 states across the nation.

Obama angered Republicans when he announced in November that he would use the executive branch to delay deportation for as many as 5 million people who came to the United States illegally.

But United States District Judge Andrew S. Hanen said Monday that the Obama administration had failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act. He ordered a halt to the implementation of the immigration measures until he has weighed the full merits of the case.

Texas has led a group of 26 states in the lawsuit seeking stop the executive action, and officials there welcomed the judge’s initial move.

“This decision is a victory for the rule of law in America and a crucial first step in reining in President Obama’s lawlessness,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

But the Obama administration said it plans to appeal against the judge’s order.

“The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama and his staff have long argued that the President has the legal right to take action, saying he only acted because Congress failed to pass immigration reform.

Immigration activists said they saw the court injunction as just “a bump in the road.”

“Executive action protecting immigrant youth and parents is solid,” Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, said in a statement. “Judge Hanen’s ruling is not permanent and we are confident that it will be repealed in a higher court.”

United We Dream, an immigrants’ rights group, said that Hanen “has become known as an advocate for the harsh treatment of immigrant families.”

The Texas-led coalition of states in the legal challenge are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

CNN’s Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

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