A federal judge in Texas on Monday declined to lift a block of the White House's immigration plan for at least 10 more days, court records show.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, a city along the border with Mexico, issued a preliminary injunction last month halting President Barack Obama's plans that would have shielded millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.
On Monday, Hanen said in a one-page order that the court will not rule on any pending motions at least until a court hearing set for March 19, where government attorneys will have to explain a filing that said some 100,000 people had been given three-year periods of deferred action prior to the judge's injunction.
Hanen, who has previously criticized U.S. immigration enforcement as too lax, based his Feb. 17 ruling on an administrative law question, faulting Obama's administration for not giving public notice of his plans. He also cited ways that Texas would be harmed by the action but used no other states as examples.
The decision was an initial victory for 26 states that brought the case alleging Obama had exceeded his powers with executive orders that would let up to 4.7 million illegal immigrants stay without threat of deportation. Obama's orders bypassed Congress, which has not been able to agree on immigration reform.
On Feb. 23, the U.S. Justice Department requested an emergency stay of Hanen's decision, and further asked that he at the very least limit his decision to Texas.
The Justice Department said in court filings that it would take its request to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans if Hanen did not act by Monday. The department could not be immediately reached for comment.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)