- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge has blocked a portion of Texas’ sweeping border security law that had criminalized harboring people in the country illegally.

Non-profit groups, churches and even some landlords opposed parts of the larger law approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature last year. They made it a crime in Texas to encourage or help someone cross the border - or remain in the country - illegally.

In January, Hispanic advocacy groups sued, arguing that it was unconstitutional to criminalize providing shelter or aid.

On Thursday, San Antonio-based U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that the law potentially violated federal statutes that would supersede it.

He found that the groups suing were likely to prevail, and temporarily blocked enforcing the law as the case proceeds.

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