A U.S. federal judge in Texas on Tuesday denied the Justice Department’s request to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, according to media reports. The U.S. government has already asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans to lift the injunction granted by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen on Feb. 16.
“It is obvious that there is no pressing, emergent need for this program,” Hanen reportedly wrote in an opinion released Tuesday. He argued that the government’s argument questioning the jurisdiction of the Texas district court in blocking immigration reforms nationwide was inconsistent with the constitution, which called for “uniform” immigration laws.
In November, Obama signed an executive order that shielded nearly 5 million immigrants from deportation and also granted benefits to some parents of citizens and legal residents. However, the controversial move fueled an outcry from Republicans who alleged that Obama had overstepped the boundaries of his authority. In February, Hanen blocked the president’s action at the urging of a coalition of 26 states led by Texas.
At the time, Obama had disagreed with the ruling and promised to go ahead with the implementation of the policy “as soon as the legal issues get resolved.” The Justice Department had also argued that the ruling would “harm the interests of the public and of third parties who will be deprived of significant law enforcement and humanitarian benefits of prompt implementation.”