US 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.

According to Reuters News Agency, 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 President Obama’s plan, opposed by Republicans and challenged by 26 states.

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

Seeing no progress on legislative reform in Congress, President Obama announced last November he would take executive action to help immigrants. The case has become the focal point of the Democratic president’s efforts to change U.S. immigration policy.

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