Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama took executive action in November to shield some 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. Reuters

A federal court in Brownsville, Texas, will hold a hearing Thursday to determine if the Justice Department misled U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen on aspects of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. The hearing is part of a larger lawsuit that 26 states filed against Obama’s order in November to shield some 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation without first seeking approval from Congress.

The hearing in Brownsville, located near the border Texas shares with Mexico, aims to address an aspect of that lawsuit. Hanen filed an injunction last month that blocked federal officials from implementing Obama’s immigration plan. The Justice Department said in a court filing last month that 100,000 illegal immigrants who would have been affected by Hanen’s injunction were protected under a separate federal program that guaranteed three years of deferred action.

But the 26 states claim the Justice Department told Hanen prior to the injunction that Obama’s orders had yet to be enacted, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has appealed Hanen’s injunction.

Hanen said in a Feb. 17 explanation of the injuction that the federal government failed to give proper notice of its plan to shield illegal immigrants. The Justice Department sought an emergency stay of the injunction and asked the judge to limit the injunction’s reach to Texas, but Hanen declined on March 10 to remove the injunction until a hearing could be held where the Justice Department could explain its filing related to the 100,000 illegal immigrants, according to Reuters.

Congress has been unable to agree on possible reforms to the country’s immigration system. Efforts to renew funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for immigration, were repeatedly delayed this year as Republicans in the House and Senate declined on several occasions to pass funding bills that did not repeal Obama’s executive actions. Ultimately, House Speaker John Boehner acquiesced and supported a bill that did not contain measures blocking the actions. The bill passed earlier this month.