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Federal appeals court won't lift hold on Obama executive action

NEW ORLEANS -- A federal appeals court has refused to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama's executive action that could shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

A 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued the 2-1 ruling Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Justice had asked the court to reverse a Texas judge's decision temporarily blocking the president's plan, after 26 states filed a lawsuit. It wasn't immediately clear if the DOJ would appeal.

The states say Obama's action is unconstitutional. The White House says the president acted within his powers to fix a "broken immigration system."

The president's plan, which includes protecting the parents of U.S. citizens from deportation, could help as many as 5 million immigrants illegally living in the U.S.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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