US President Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation suffered a legal setback.
By a 2-1 decision, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld an injunction against Obama’s executive order, which is opposed by Republicans and challenged by 26 states, Reuters reported.
The states, all led by Republican governors, said the federal government exceeded its authority in demanding whole categories of immigrants be protected.
With the latest ruling, Obama is left with no other option but to appeal to the Supreme Court.
His administration has said it is within its rights to ask the Department of Homeland Security to use discretion before deporting non-violent migrants with US family ties.
The case has become the focal point of the Democratic president’s efforts to change US immigration policy.
Seeing no progress on legislative reform in Congress, Obama announced last November he would take executive action to help immigrants.
He has faced criticism from Republicans who say the program grants amnesty to lawbreakers.
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