(Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama's bid to make overhauling immigration policy a second-term victory was dealt a serious blow as federal judges ruled the effort must remain on hold while 26 states sue to overturn it.

Obama's executive action, which would allow 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country, must be delayed until the lawsuit is resolved, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled. The case has drawn sometimes furious opposition from members of Congress, and more than a few presidential contenders.

For years, Congress has been unable to agree on a revised law to address an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Obama said he acted because the House has refused to take up a bipartisan measure passed by the Senate in 2013 that would create a path to citizenship for many of those immigrants.

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