A federal judge has granted a request by 26 states to temporarily block President Obama's executive action on illegal immigration, allowing a lawsuit aimed at permanently stopping the orders to make its way through the courts.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen granted the preliminary injunction Monday after hearing arguments in Brownsville, Texas last month. He wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order that the lawsuit should go forward and that without a preliminary injunction the states will "suffer irreparable harm in this case."
"The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle," he wrote, adding that he agreed with the plaintiffs' argument that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a "virtually irreversible" action.
The first of Obama's orders -- to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children -- was set to start taking effect Wednesday. The other major part of Obama's order, which extends deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until May 19.