The Obama administration said it would ease work restrictions for spouses of certain visa holders, even as Republican lawmakers are fighting the president on earlier actions regarding undocumented immigrants.

The new presidential action allows work permits and longer stays for some spouses of those in the U.S. legally with H-1B visas, Leon Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told reporters Tuesday in Washington.

The Obama administration Monday appealed a ruling by a Texas judge that temporarily blocked the president's executive actions on immigration.

The Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal and motion to stay the decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas. Hanen ruled last week that the administration's program, which would defer the deportations of as many as five million undocumented immigrants, should be temporarily blocked from going forward while a lawsuit filed by 26 states challenging it made its way through the courts.

The U.S. government announced Friday that at the start of next week the Justice Department will seek an emergency order to suspend the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that blocks President Barack Obama's executive measures on immigration.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told his daily press conference that the emergency order will enable the suspension of the temporary blocking decreed by federal Judge Andrew Scott Hanen that has already halted the first phase of Obama's executive measures, which should have taken effect last Wednesday.

A Texas judge’s freeze on Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions of immigrants from deportation likely won’t last long, legal experts say, meaning Republicans who oppose the executive action will have to look away from the courts for help.

Federal judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction late Monday night that prevented the Department of Homeland Security from implementing a program that could defer deportations for more than 4 million people, but the courts have long sided with presidents on such issues, Cornell law professor and immigration expert Steve Yale-Loehr said.

Just hours after a federal judge in South Texas temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, groups on opposing sides of the debate about what to do about undocumented immigrants reacted, with immigrant advocates decrying the decision, and others expressing feelings of vindication.

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."

In less than four months, President Barack Obama is due to roll out one of the most ambitious and controversial programs of his presidency: an effort to grant a reprieve from deportation for millions of adult immigrants living in the country illegally.

Many U.S. cities aren't waiting for the federal government to determine how to deal who with people who enter the country illegally. New York, for instance, is issuing municipal ID cards that are available to all city residents, including undocumented immigrants.

The card allows a resident to open a bank account, enroll a child in school or gain access to a hospital — all actions that require a valid picture ID.

Senate Democrats voted Tuesday to prevent the chamber from taking up legislation that provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security but blocks President Barack Obama's controversial executive action on immigration.

The Senate voted 51 to 48 in favor of the procedural motion, falling well short of the 60 votes needed to move forward with the bill.

Forty-four Democrats and the chamber's two Independents voted against the motion along with Republican Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Applications will start being accepted Feb. 18 for temporary deportation relief for immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children as part of protections under President Obama's new immigration plan.

Expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is the first part of Obama's plan -- and exactly what the new Republican Congress has tried to prevent by withholding full funding this year for the Homeland Security Department.

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