WASHINGTON - A judge in Texas has blocked President Barack Obama's executive order providing millions of undocumented foreigners with protection from deportation.
The order came from Judge Andrew Hanen of the Federal District Court in Brownsville, Texas in response to a suit presented by that state and 25 other Republican governors and attorneys general, the Washington Post and New York Times reported early Tuesday.
The Post said the order seeks to postpone implementation of the order issued in November until a trial on its legality can be held.
The president's plan would offer protection from deportation and work permits to as many as five million undocumented immigrants.
The first of those initiatives was to have started receiving applications on Wednesday.
Hanen said the Obama administration had not complied with basic administrative procedures for putting such a broad programme into effect, the Times said.
The Obama administration says the president has acted within federal authority for a president to enforce immigration laws.
However, Texas and the other states said the executive measures amounted to a heavy handed order that imposes big costs on state budgets.
Hanen agreed the president's policies had been costly already.
"The court finds that the government's failure to secure the border has exacerbated illegal immigration into this country," Hanen wrote, the papers said.
"Further, the record supports the finding that this lack of enforcement, combined with the country's high rate of illegal immigration, significantly drains the states' resources."
Under the Obama plan, three-year deportation deferrals and work permits were offered for undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes, have been in America at least five years and have children who are American citizens or legal residents.
But Hanen accused the administration of being "disingenuous" when it said the president's initiatives did not significantly alter existing policies.
Hanen said the programs were "a massive change" affecting "the nation's entire immigration scheme and the states who must bear the lion's share of its consequences."