President Obama's executive order to protect millions of illegal immigrants from being deported was blocked by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Monday. The 2-1 decision by the Appeals Court represents an important victory for Republicans and 26 states that challenged the executive action.

Appealing to the Supreme Court Is Obama's Only Option

Legal and political analysts say that, at this point, appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court is Obama's only option. The 26 states that opposed Obama's action, which all have Republican governors, claimed that the federal government's protection of undocumented immigrants was unconstitutional and represents an overreach of Obama's presidential powers.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration continues to argue that it has every right to order the Department of Homeland Security to follow its own discretion with regard to the deportation of nonviolent undocumented immigrants who are living in the United States and have family ties in the country.

Case Affects Obama's Controversial Action from Last November

The case is central to the Obama administration's efforts to reform immigration laws in the United States. Last November, Obama announced the executive action at issue in this case, which offers protection to nonviolent undocumented immigrants. He instituted the order after Congress refused to move forward with immigration law reforms. Obama has faced a lot of criticism for this order, especially from Republican politicians who say that he has given amnesty to lawbreakers and his action represents a significant breach of his authority.

According to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Monday's Court of Appeals ruling gives his state more authority to stop the president's executive order, which he says is lawless.

Since the president's executive order last November, nonviolent undocumented immigrants have enjoyed some degree of protection. However, without legal reforms from Congress, that protection could be short lived. If the 26 states continue to prevail in this lawsuit after it is appealed, it could have negative consequences for immigrants who are currently being protected by the order.