Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images

Texas Judge Pauses Immigration Case to Give Trump Time to Act

  • Obama program to shield 4 million immigrants could be reversed
  • Judge lifts sanctions on Obama lawyers for ‘accidental’ lies

The federal judge overseeing the challenge to President Barack Obama’s immigration reforms put the case on hold to give incoming President Donald Trump two months to decide what to do with the policy.

Trump has repeatedly denounced Obama’s reforms, which were designed to shield more than 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and provide them work permits that could lead to federal benefits.

“If no definitive action which affects the disposition of this case has occurred” by March 17, the judge said Thursday he would set the case for trial. Texas and 25 other states sued to block Obama’s initiative, claiming he overstepped his authority to set immigration policy without Congressional approval.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, also lifted sanctions he had imposed on government lawyers for telling him that “nothing would happen” while he decided whether the program was legal. The lawyers repeatedly misstated the facts, although they later admitted they knew bureaucrats were already processing work-permit extensions for thousands of undocumented young immigrants.

After reviewing evidence belatedly provided by government attorneys last year, Hanen said he believes busy lawyers who didn’t “connect the dots” on everything taking place behind the scenes lied to him accidentally.

The case is Texas v. U.S., 14-00254, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Brownsville).

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