Tens of demonstrators gathered near a New Orleans federal courthouse as President Barack Obama’s moves to change the country’s immigration system is still caught in legal limbo.

Justice Department lawyers requested a federal appeals court to go ahead with a plan that would allow up to 5 million illegal immigrants to continue living in the country, receive work permits and obtain other benefits.

In February, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen validated a preliminary injunction at the solicitation of 26 states that are opposing Obama’s action. Hanen’s decision has temporarily stopped the Obama administration from putting into practice the policies that would protect illegal immigrants from deportation.

“We have health costs. We have law enforcement costs. Then there’s additional costs to the federal government, because basically this is a benefits program for people who are not actually supposed to be here,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said.

Barack Obama pushed forward the executive orders after the November midterm elections, adding that lack of action by Congress prompted him to make radical changes to immigration rules by his own.

A group 26 states strong, which is led by Texas, acted in court to overturn Obama’s executive decision, explaining that it is against the Constitution and would imply more investments in law enforcement, education and also in health.

Justice Department lawyers have argued that holding the temporary stuation is harmful for “the interests of the public who will be deprived of important law enforcement and health benefits of prompt implementation” of the president’s immigration executive action.

The current court will promote the case  to a special hearing. It is still unclear how quickly the court might offer its ruling following the hearing. Each side was to obtain an hour to make the arguments for their case.

The first of Obama’s orders is to implement and enlarge a program that offers protection to young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the United States as children and illegally. This law had been scheduled to take effect Feb. 18.

The other important part would enlarge deportation protections to those who are parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been living in the country for several years. That action was set to begin on May 19.

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