A Texas judge has temporarily blocked President Obama's executive immigration policy action that would defer the deportation of some 5 million immigrants living in the United States.
The executive order, put forth by Obama last November, would expand a deportation deferment program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, for the children of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally—applications for the expanded program were expected to begin Wednesday.
That program would later extend to the parents of American citizens who have lived in the States for at least five years and have not committed a serious crime. The order also calls for law enforcement to redirect deportation efforts to dangerous criminals.
Texas leads a 26-state coalition against expanding the program, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott having filed the initial suit against the executive order last December as one of his final acts as the state's attorney general. The states opposing the order have cried government overreach that would prove costly to implement.
"This injunction makes it clear that the president is not a law unto himself, and must work with our elected leaders in Congress and satisfy the courts in a fashion our Founding Fathers envisioned," Ken Paxton, Texas new attorney general, said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of Brownsville, wrote in his 123-page opinion accompanying his injunction, the New York Times reports, "that the states had satisfied the minimum legal requirements to bring their lawsuit." He goes on:
In his opinion, Judge Hanen accused administration officials of being "disingenuous" when they said the president's initiatives did not significantly alter existing policies. He wrote that the programs were "a massive change in immigration practice" that would affect "the nation's entire immigration scheme and the states who must bear the lion's share of its consequences." He said the executive actions had violated laws that the federal government must follow to issue new rules, and he determined "the states have clearly proven a likelihood of success on the merits."
The Obama administration, meanwhile, has maintained that Obama acted within his powers and with past precedent in issuing the order.
"The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and the district court in Washington, D.C., have determined that the president's actions are well within his legal authority," the White House said in a statement. "The district court's decision wrongly prevents these lawful, common sense policies from taking effect, and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision."
[Image via AP]