Texas judge temporarily blocks Obama plan to protect undocumented immigrants

Texas judge temporarily blocks Obama plan to protect undocumented immigrants
US President Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago.

A US federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's plan to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Ruling in favour of some two dozen US states opposed to the administration's plan, US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, said in a decision posted on the Los Angeles Times website that the administration had failed to comply with administrative procedures in setting its new policies.

Obama in November said he would allow as many as 4.7 million of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants stay in the country without fear of deportation, including about 4.4 million who are parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents.

The president's plan would also expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, which lets undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children remain and be allowed to work. That expansion was scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

Greg Abbott, Texas' Republican governor, had sued Obama in December over the immigration plan when he was state attorney general, and has since led opposition that came largely from Republican-led states.

Critics have argued that Obama's executive order violated constitutional limits on presidential powers. The White House has said Obama exercised his authority properly.

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