President Barack Obama's plan to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million people living in the United States illegally, suffered another setback in court on Monday.
In a 2-1 decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a Texas-based judge's injunction blocking the Obama administration's immigration initiative.
Republicans had criticized the plan as an illegal executive overreach when Obama announced it last November. Twenty-six states challenged the plan in court.
The administration argued that the executive branch was within its rights in deciding to defer deportation of selected groups of immigrants.
Part of the initiative included expansion of a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protecting young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The Department of Justice said it will take the matter directly to Supreme Court.
“The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow (the Department of Homeland Security) to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The Department disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s adverse ruling and intends to seek further review from the Supreme Court of the United States.”