A federal appeals court Monday upheld an injunction blocking the implementation of President Barack Obama’s programs to protect roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled 2-1 to block two of Obama’s initiatives — the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA) and an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

Federal law “flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization,” Judge Jerry Smith wrote.

Smith was joined by Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod in upholding a lower court’s injunction preventing DAPA and the DACA expansion from taking effect. Judge Carolyn Dineen King dissented.

In her dissent, King wrote that the Department of Homeland Security “is faced with important prioritization decisions as to which aliens should be the subject of removal proceedings. Congress has made clear that those decisions are to be made by DHS, not by Congress itself — and certainly not by the courts.”

BAL Analysis: The ruling has no effect on the administration’s immigration policies related to high-skilled workers, but is another setback for Obama on immigration, effectively blocking two of his key programs. A Justice Department spokesman said the government would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

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