Appeals Court Blocks Obama From Moving on Immigration Executive Actions

President Obama
President Obama / AP

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that President Obama cannot move forward with his executive actions on immigration that would allow up to 5 million illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.

Politico reported that the 5th Circuit court in New Orleans concluded in a 2-1 decision that Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did not have the legal authority for their actions.

The executive actions, which Obama announced last November, have been blocked nationwide since a February ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen. The 5th Circuit in March said it would hear the expedited appeal to the decision, which was argued in July.

The timing of the ruling could allow the Supreme Court to take up the case this term. An anonymous White House official said Monday that the administration is reviewing the decision.

"We strongly disagree with the 5th Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws," the official stated. "The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security are reviewing the court’s decision as they consider the appropriate next steps for moving forward."

Republican lawmakers applauded the 5th Circuit’s decision Monday.

"The decision from the federal appeals court is a victory for the Constitution and the American people. President Obama’s decision to ignore the limits placed on his power and act unilaterally to rewrite our nation’s immigration laws is an affront to the Constitution," Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

"The president himself stated over 20 times that he does not have the authority to change immigration laws on his own yet he did so anyway. Such lawlessness must be stopped so that we preserve the separation of powers in the Constitution and protect individual liberty."

Meanwhile, Democrats pointed to the need for the Supreme Court to weigh in on Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

"While today’s ruling may be disappointing news to those still stuck in the shadows, it is by no means a surprise," Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) said in a statement. "The path is finally clear for the Supreme Court to weigh in and confirm the legality of the expanded DACA and DAPA programs."