Texas judge’s immigration rebuke may be hard to challenge

Border patrol, Texas

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration faces a difficult and possibly lengthy legal battle to overturn a Texas court ruling that blocked his landmark immigration overhaul, since the judge based his decision on an obscure and unsettled area of administrative law, lawyers said.

In his ruling on Monday that upended plans to shield millions of people from deportation, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen avoided diving into sweeping constitutional questions or tackling presidential powers head-on. Instead, he faulted Obama for not giving public notice of his plans.

The failure to do so, Hanen wrote, was a violation of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act, which requires notice in a publication called the Federal Register as well as an opportunity for people to submit views in writing.

The ruling, however narrow, marked 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…

The New York Times produced an editorial entitled (no bias here): ‘A Judge’s Assault on Immigration’

…Judge Hanen said the costs were the result of the federal government’s “failure to secure the borders,” and noted the millions of dollars states spend to educate “each illegal alien child,” even though, as he knows, the Constitution already requires states to provide that education.

He danced around the fundamental point — as the Supreme Court reiterated as recently as 2012 — that setting immigration policy is the prerogative of the federal government, not the states…

…However the appellate courts come down on the case, Mr. Obama is finding himself once again dealing with a familiar sort of Republican intransigence. With his humane and realistic immigration policy, he is attempting to tackle a huge and long-running national problem…

The problem would not have grown so huge without massive support for illegal immigrants. And not just from the leftist Times: the Wall Street Journal agrees here, for different reasons of course.