U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys are attending a Thursday hearing in Brownsville, Texas federal court to answer allegations that they misled a judge about when part of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration was put into effect, reports the Miami Herald.

The Thursday hearing is part of a larger lawsuit filed by 26 states against Obama's plan, which could spare more than 5 million people residing in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

The immigration action was halted last month by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, a move the U.S. government is appealing. According to the DOJ, 100,000 illegal immigrants who would have been affected by Hanen's injunction were protected under another federal program that defers deportation for three years.

The 26 states claim that the U.S. government told Hanen before his injunction that the immigration action hadn't been enacted, reports the Associated Press.

The DOJ filed an emergency motion last week to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking to overrule Hanen's decision to temporarily block Obama's deferred action programs.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Sen. Ted Cruz -- who is one step closer to a formal bid for president -- convened Thursday's hearing, titled "Reining in Amnesty: Texas v. United States and Its Implications."

Cruz has condemned Obama's Nov. 20 executive order to protect illegal immigrants from deportation as a violation of presidential and constitutional authority, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Many are expected to testify at the hearing, including Kansas secretary of state Kris Koback, a leading hardliner on immigration, and Jill Family, an immigration law expert and professor at Widener Law School in Philadelphia.

Obama's immigration executive order would protect undocumented immigrants by deferring deportation for three years and provide an opportunity to obtain a work permit. The president also expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which he implemented two years ago, to allow undocumented children to remain in the U.S. for education or to obtain legal work permits.