President Barack Obama’s executive action to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation endured a legal setback on Monday to the Supreme Court the government’s only option.
The 2-1 decision from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to uphold a May injunction deals a blow to Obama’s plan, opposed by Republicans and challenged by 26 states.
The states, all directed by Republican governors, said in demanding whole categories of immigrants be protected, the government exceeded its authority.
The Obama administration has said it’s within its rights to request the Department of Homeland Security to make use of discretion before deporting migrants that were nonviolent with US family ties.
The case is now the focal point of the Democratic president’s efforts.
Seeing no advancement on legislative reform Obama announced last November he would take executive action to aid immigrants. He’s faced criticism from Republicans who say the plan grants amnesty to lawbreakers.
In its ruling, the appeals court said it was denying the government’s appeal to stay the May injunction “after deciding that the appeal was unlikely to be successful on its merits.”
Republicans hailed the ruling as a victory against the Obama administration.
John Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, said in a Twitter message that the court judgement was “a major triumph for the rule of law.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement the ruling meant the state, which has led the legal challenge, “has secured a crucial victory to put a halt to the president’s lawlessness.”