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Groups Praise Challenge Of Blocked Immigration Action

Community activists rally during an event on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, DAPA in downtown Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The White House promised an appeal Tuesday after a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration and gave a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit aiming to permanently stop the orders. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)Nick Ut / AP

Immigration advocates praised the Obama administration's announcement Friday that it would ask for an "emergency stay"in an attempt to lift a judge's order that blocked thousands of young people in the country from applying for protection from deportation and work permits.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said it would be seeking the stay of U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen's temporary injunction on or before Monday "and then if necessary will assess additional steps."

Hanen's order late Monday stopped the administration's plans to begin accepting applications on Wednesday from immigrants in the country illegally since before they were 16, for protection from deportation and permission to work. It also puts on hold plans for an application period in mid-May for similar benefits for immigrants here illegally who have U.S. citizen and legal resident children. The program for the young immigrants is known by its acronym DACA and for the parents, as DAPA.

"The Department of Justice's request for a stay demonstrates the solid commitment by President Obama to immigrant families across the country that he will use every tool at his disposal to defend and support the expanded DACA and DAPA programs," said Lupe Lopez, interim campaign director of the Alliance for Citizenship. "The immigrant rights movement will stop at nothing to ensure 5 million immigrant workers have the chance to live, work and stay in America with their families."

The judge's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, who led the challenge, has considered the ruling a victory and said the judge in the case had stopped Obama's "overreach in its tracks."

The administration had been tight-lipped about the next step it would take in the case, and some immigrant activists were pressing for DOJ to seek the emergency stay.

The administration can still file an appeal of the ruling in the case, but it had the option of forgoing asking for an emergency stay. There was excitement that the administration chose to seek it.

Appeals in cases from Texas are heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.