A US appeals court ruled in favour of States to keep a hold on President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that shields millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.
The judges from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled with a 2-1 vote to deny the request of US Justice Department to lift the temporary hold placed by a Texas judge in February.
“The government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal,” the court said keeping the hold on the programme as the legal process continues.
The decision is a victory for 26 states led by Texas which oppose the plan to prevent deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants who are parents of US citizens or brought to the country as a child.
Titled the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, the programme was authorised by Obama with an executive order late last year after the US Congress failed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform.
The Republican governors, who took the plan to court, say Obama exceeds his authority in placing a blanket regulation regarding all immigrants in categories and claim the decisions should be made on a case by case basis.
“The president’s attempt to bypass the will of the American people was successfully checked again today," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said after the ruling.
Obama administration claims that president has the authority and that the judges who rule against his plan "misinterpret the facts and the law."
"The president's actions... are squarely within the bounds of his authority and they are the right thing to do for the country," White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said.
The US Department of Justice is evaluating the ruling and weighing its options for the next steps.
Obama administration can take the case to the Supreme Court, which can delay the implementation of the programme until 2016.