Federal judge denies White House request for emergency lift of block on immigration order

Siding with a Texas official who opposed the Obama administration’s request that a court block on its immigration executive order be lifted, a federal judge declined to issue a decision on the White House motion on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, sitting in Brownsville, Texas, rejected the White House request that he lift his own injunction on president’s order by Feb. 25, and is giving a coalition of 26 states that sued to stop the order until next week to respond to the administration’s emergency motion.

Texas Assistant Attorney General Angela Colmenero had filed a letter with the court saying that Texas, and the other 25 states that joined the lawsuit, should have at minimum one week to formulate a challenge to the administration’s request.

The states are asserting that by unilaterally suspending deportation for three years for an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants – a move that also qualifies them for work permits and federal benefits – the president is violating the constitution and putting an undue burden on states.

Hanen issued a preliminary injunction on Feb. 16 that halted Obama's order, which could spare from as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally from deportation. Texas leads the 26-state coalition that sought the injunction, arguing that Obama's executive action was unconstitutional and places an undue burden on local governments.

The U.S. government wants Hanen to stay his injunction while it appeals to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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