Judge Used Obscure Law to Block Obama on Immigration
White House says it'll appeal Texas ruling, but feds have to uphold for now
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2015 7:49 AM CST
Immigrant Jose Montes attends an event on DACA and DAPA, part of the immigration relief program, in downtown Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

(Newser) – Millions of immigrants are cooling their heels instead of starting their deferred-deportation paperwork today after a Texas judge blocked President Obama's executive order on Monday. But how US District Judge Andrew Hanen did it is pretty fascinating: He used a little-used and vague administrative law from 1946 to ding Obama for not giving the public notice, Reuters reports, and not giving citizens time to respond in writing. Such a move would stall things for six to eight months "and potentially much longer," an immigration expert tells Reuters. While some legal experts hail Hanen's ruling as smart (it's just confusing enough to flummox the lower courts), Justice Department lawyers say the immigration overhaul is exempt from the nearly 70-year-old act because it's a "legislative" rule.

Obama said yesterday that he'll appeal Hanen's decision, Politico reports. He added, per the New York Times, "The law is on our side, and history is on our side. … We should not be tearing some mom away from her child when the child has been born here and that mom has been living here the last 10 years minding her own business and being an important part of the community." Meanwhile, Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson says he has no choice but to uphold the ruling for now, Politico notes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott supports it, telling the Times that "Hanen’s decision rightly stops the president’s overreach in its tracks." The president of the nation's largest Latino organization, however, tells the paper, "Attempts to dismantle these programs are attacks on American families." Adds a 19-year-old who was set to start the deferral process today: "I felt like my world crashed a little bit."