Federal Court halts immigration action

A federal district judge in Texas has temporarily halted President Obama's executive immigration action plan, which would have begun accepting applications for deferred action this week. The suit was brought by 26 states, challenging the president's authority to implement the plan. Judge Hanen, an appointee of George W. Bush serves as a district court judge in Brownsville, which is a town located on the shared border between Texas and Mexico. He did not rule on the merits of the suit, but issued a temporary injunction, suspending implementation of the plan while the suit was pending.

In a 123 page decision, Hanen found that Texas had standing to bring the suit, and a likelihood of success on the merits of the case. He wrote that Obama's actions amounted to “a massive change in immigration practice” impacting “the nation’s entire immigration scheme and the states who must bear the lion’s share of its consequences.” He indicated that the immigration plan may violate the Administrative Procedure Act as it did not provide for a period of notice and comment on the action.

The Obama administration argues that the suit is without merit and should be dismissed. According to the New York Times, the administration issued the following statement in response to the judge's ruling:

“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,” and “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.”

For more information about this, see these articles from the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Hanen's opinion is available, here.