LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Southland immigration advocates reacted defiantly to a federal appeals court ruling blocking the Obama administration’s plans to extend deportation protection to an estimated 4 million people.

The ruling by a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel in New Orleans on Tuesday, May 26, upholds an injunction issued in February by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of  Texas. That injunction was issued in response to lawsuits filed by 26 states seeking to halt President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

“We disagree with the court’s myopic ruling and lament the confusion, anger and disappointment it will stir amongst millions of families who have spent much of their lives subjugated by unjust immigration laws,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

The legal wrangling has suspended implementation of a program that would extend work permits and protection against deportation to parents of U.S.-born children and expand an existing program for immigrants who arrived illegally as children. The programs — often referred to by their acronyms, DAPA and DACA — would affect an estimated half-million Angelenos.

The three-justice panel ruled that the states had sufficient legal ground to bring suit and that the administration failed to show it would be harmed by further delays, according to the New York Times.

In the meantime, both the city and county of Los Angeles have begun to prepare for the programs’ roll-out.

The Board of Supervisors — led by Supervisor Hilda Solis but opposed by Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe — filed a “friend of the court” brief in the case calling for the injunction to be lifted. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his New York City counterpart, Bill de Blasio, led a coalition of 73 cities and counties in filing a similar brief.

“Unfortunately, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling means that millions of families will not be able to apply for permits to stay, work legally in this country and become full contributing members of our society,”  Solis said. “We hope that the administration will find the most expeditious way to continue fighting this legal challenge to bring a final resolution and relief to these families.

“In the meantime, Los Angeles County will continue to get ready to help over half a million of our residents to apply for this programs when the time comes. And we believe it will.”

Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat, said she was disappointed by the appeals court’s ruling.

“President Obama proposed common-sense actions to help address our broken immigration system and provide a path out of the shadows for over one million hard-working undocumented Californians eligible for deferred action,” Harris said.

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