A federal judge in Texas has issued an order banning officials from implementing "any and all aspects" of President Obama's executive order on immigration, just two days before the first applications for deferred deportation were to be received. US District Judge Andrew Hanen decided that a lawsuit led by Texas and joined by 25 other states satisfied legal requirements, reports the New York Times. "The court finds that the government's failure to secure the border has exacerbated illegal immigration into this country," which "significantly drains the states' resources," he wrote, calling failure to enforce immigration laws "both dangerous and unconscionable" and temporarily suspending programs that could defer deportation for around 5 million people.
The ruling was hailed by Texas officials, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who said it had checked "the president's attempt to bypass the will of the American people," reports the Los Angeles Times. But supporters of Obama's immigration order say the ruling is just the first step in a long legal battle, and legal scholars tell the New York Times that an appeals court is almost certain to lift Hanen's ruling. The judge, who has been on the federal bench since 2002, was assigned the immigration case through an automated system, reports the AP, which notes that Hanen wasn't known for being outspoken on immigration until a case in 2013, when he accused the federal government of taking part in a "criminal conspiracy" by reuniting a child smuggled from El Salvador with her mother, who was in the US illegally.