A federal judge in Texas issued an injunction Monday to halt the implementation of a December executive order by President Barack Obama on immigration. The Associated Press reports:
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's decision late Monday puts on hold Obama's orders that could spare from deportation as many as five million people who are in the U.S. illegally.
Hanen wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order that the lawsuit should go forward. Without a preliminary injunction, he said, the states would "suffer irreparable harm in this case."
"The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle," he wrote, adding that he agreed that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a "virtually irreversible" action.
The White House responded to the decision forcefully in a statement released Tuesday.
"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," reads the statement. "Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision."