Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left

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Obama's Immigration Plan Suffers Setback


President Barack Obama's executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation suffered a legal setback on Monday with an appeal to the Supreme Court now the administration's only option.

The 2-1 decision by the 5th U.S. 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.

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The states, all led by Republican governors, said the federal government exceeded its authority in demanding whole categories of immigrants be protected.

See photos from protests on immigration:

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Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks during a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill with Representative John Carter, a Republican from Texas, right, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks during a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, right, gestures while talking to Representative John Culberson, a Republican from Texas, after a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, speaks during a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill with Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Arkansas, right, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants, known as DREAMers, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 4, 2015. The group has received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which provides relief from deportation for immigrants who arrived in the US illegally before they were 16 years old. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Heather Pina-Ledezma, 6, holds the hand of her mother Madai Ledezma, 32, from Mexico, now living in Maryland, during a news conference with Democratic Senators to discuss U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration, on Capitol Hill, December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama traveled to Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday, where he defended his actions on immigration and again called on Congress to pass an immigration bill. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Protesters wave signs as US President Barack Obama arrives to speak about his recent executive actions on immigration on December 9, 2014 at the Casa Azafran, a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations, in Nashville, Tennessee. Obama's controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greets attendees after speaking about his recent executive actions on immigration on December 9, 2014 at the Casa Azafran, a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations, in Nashville, Tennessee. Obama's controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Immigrants rights activists gather to celebrate U.S. President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration policy in Washington Square Park on November 21, 2014 in New York City. Obama announced a plan on Thursday that would ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 21: Immigration activist Astrid Silva introduces U.S. President Barack Obama to speak on his executive action on U.S. immigration policy at Del Sol High School on November 21, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Obama outlined a plan on Thursday to ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: About 100 people gather to rally in support of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration policy in Lafayette Square across from the White House November 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama announced a plan on Thursday that would ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: An anti-immigration demonstrator moves among about 100 people who have gathered to rally in support of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration policy in Lafayette Square across from the White House November 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama announced a plan on Thursday that would ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the new steps he will be taking within his executive authority on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Obama administration has said it is within its rights to ask the Department of Homeland Security to use discretion before deporting nonviolent migrants with U.S. family ties.

The case has become the focal point of the Democratic president's efforts to change U.S. 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.

In its ruling, the appeals court said it was denying the government's appeal to stay the May injunction "after determining that the appeal was unlikely to succeed on its merits."

John Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, said in a Twitter message that the court decision was "a major victory 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 an important victory to put a halt to the president's lawlessness."

RELATED GALLERY: See photos from the House voting on immigration:

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Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), speaks about immigration while flanked immigrant family members by during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. Hoyer urged members of Congress not to pass legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security with attached anti-immigrant amendments. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: Isabel Aguilar (R) speaks about immigration while flanked by her children Adolfo Martinez 13 (C), Miranda Aguilar 8 (2ndL), and Emillio Aguilar 7 (L), during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. Ms. Aguilar joined House Democrats to urge members of Congress not to pass legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security with attached anti-immigrant amendments. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: Isabel Aguilar (R) speaks about immigration while flanked by her children Adolfo Martinez 13 (C), Miranda Aguilar 8 (2ndL), and Emillio Aguilar 7 (L), during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. Ms. Aguilar joined House Democrats to urge members of Congress not to pass legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security with attached anti-immigrant amendments. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R)Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) attend a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) receives notes during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Karen Bass, D-CA, speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) speaks about immigration during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rep. Gutierrez talked about plans to help educate immigrant communities and prepare for the implementation of the executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama in last November. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Rabih Torbay, senior vice president for international operations at the International Medical Corps., speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) (C) speaks about immigration while flanked by colleagues during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rep. Gutierrez talked about plans to help educate immigrant communities and prepare for the implementation of the executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama in last November. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Jeremy Konyndyk (L), director of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and Tom Frieden (R), director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listen as African Union Ambassador to the US, Amina S. Ali, speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Tom Frieden(2nd-R), director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Sarah Kaba Jones, founder and CEO of FACE Africa, speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC.House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Charles Rangel (R),D-NY, arrives for a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrives for a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listens during a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
From left: Rabih Torbay, senior vice president for international operations at the International Medical Corps, Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Gwendolyn Mikell, professor of anthropology and foreign service at Georgetown University, and Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, attend a press conference on Capitol Hill January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC.House Democrats spoke about US President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Charles Rangel
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) speaks about immigration during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rep. Gutierrez talked about plans to help educate immigrant communities and prepare for the implementation of the executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama in last November. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) (C) speaks about immigration while flanked by colleagues during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rep. Gutierrez talked about plans to help educate immigrant communities and prepare for the implementation of the executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama in last November. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama listens during a naturalization ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. A total of 25 military members, veterans and their spouses became the newest US citizens. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama listens to the US National Anthem during a naturalization ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. A total of 25 military members, veterans and their spouses became the newest US citizens. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama listens as new citizens speak the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. A total of 25 military members, veterans and their spouses became the newest US citizens. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) listens as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas (R) administers the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. A total of 25 military members, veterans and their spouses became the newest US citizens. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks while meeting with bipartisan members of Congress including U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. Top Republicans met with President Obama today after warning him that changing U.S. immigration policy without involving Congress would invite 'big trouble' and make a future compromise impossible. Photographer: Dennis Brack/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks while meeting with bipartisan members of Congress including House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, from left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. Top Republicans met with President Obama today after warning him that changing U.S. immigration policy without involving Congress would invite 'big trouble' and make a future compromise impossible. Photographer: Dennis Brack/Pool via Bloomberg
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