The temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s plans to shield almost five million illegal immigrants from deportation has been backed by an federal court.
The hold was imposed after 26 states launched a legal challenge against the executive action, alleging it was unconstitutional.
The appeals court has now denied a government request to overturn it.
Under the plans, announced in 2014, people who entered the US illegally as children and parents of children who are US citizens would be offered temporary protection from deportation.
Aside from arguing President Barack Obama acted outside his authority, the states say the move forces them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling keeps the plans on hold while the states’ legal challenge proceeds.
It is not clear yet whether the Obama administration will appeal.
The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who has been a persistent critic of the president’s immigration policies, tweeted: “The constitution wins.”