A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a tough immigration law in Alabama on Monday.
Opponents of the measure -- including state church leaders, the U.S. Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union-- had asked U.S. Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn to stop the law, which was scheduled to go into effect Thursday.
State officials argue the law would help Alabama and not violate civil rights.
In her two-page order, the judge said there was not enough time before Thursday to address all the legal arguments from various parties over the law's constitutionality. "It is hereby ordered that Act 2011-535 is temporarily enjoined, and may not be executed or enforced," wrote Blackburn.
Earlier this month, leaders from the Episcopal, Methodist and Catholic churches of Alabama sued the state's governor, its attorney general and a district attorney over the law, known as HB 56.
One attorney representing the bishops said in court that representatives of the church did not want to become immigration agents, and that the law would make church officials targets for ministering to illegal immigrants.