A federal judge in Texas will block the administration's immigration plan for at least 10 more days, declining a White House request to lift his injunction on it, court records show.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, a city along the border with Mexico, issued a preliminary injunction last month halting President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, which would have shielded millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
On Monday, Hanen said in a one-page order that the court will not rule on any pending motions at least until a court hearing set for March 19, when government attorneys will have to explain a filing that said some 100,000 people were given three-year deportation deferments before his injunction.
Hanen, who has criticized U.S. immigration enforcement as too lax, based his Feb. 17 ruling on an administrative law question, faulting the administration for not giving public notice of the plan. He also cited ways that Texas would be harmed by the actions but used no other states as examples.
The decision was an initial victory for 26 states that brought the case contending that Obama exceeded his executive authority with actions that would let up to 4.7 million undocumented immigrants stay without threat of deportation. With the actions, he bypassed Congress, which has not been able to agree on immigration reform.
On Feb. 23, the U.S. Justice Department requested an emergency stay of Hanen's decision and asked that he at the very least limit his decision to Texas.
The Justice Department said in court filings that it would take its request to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans if Hanen did not act by Monday. The department could not be immediately reached for comment.