US President Joe Biden has said that the Justice Department will appeal a "deeply disappointing" ruling by a federal judge in Texas on a programme that protects from deportation certain immigrants brought to the United States as children, while also urging Congress to take action.
The White House issued Mr Biden's statement a day after US District Judge Andrew Hanen sided with a group of states led by Texas suing to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.
Judge Hanen ruled that Democratic former presiden tBarack Obama acted unlawfully when he created the programme in 2012 by executive action.
The hundreds of thousands of people protected under DACA are often called "Dreamers."
Mr Biden said the ruling "relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future."
He said the Justice Department intends to appeal the ruling "in order to preserve and fortify" DACA, adding that the Department of Homeland Security also plans to act in the near future.
"But only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve," Mr Biden said.
"It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally provide security to all Dreamers,who have lived too long in fear," Mr Biden added, referring to possible legislative paths politicians may take.
Judge Hanen found DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it was created but said that since there are so many people currently in the programme - nearly 650,000 - his ruling would be temporarily put on hold for their cases and their renewal applications.
To apply for DACA protection - which also allows the right to work - applicants must have arrived in the United States before age 16.
Applicants must be in school or have a high school degree or equivalent, or have been honourably discharged from the military and have a clean criminal record.
In 2017, then-president Donald Trump tried to dismantle it on grounds that it was unconstitutional, triggering a lengthy court battle.
Challenges to the phase-out of the programme eventually ended up on the nation's top court.
DACA survived and was reinstated last December.
Since taking office, President Biden has looked to strengthen the programme, as well as initiate wider immigration reform.
Democrats in Congress have pushed for legislation that would permanently settle the status of the childhood arrivals, but immigration policies have long stalled.
After yesterday's ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said: "Democrats call on Republicans in Congress to join us in respecting the will of the American people and the law, to ensure that Dreamers have a permanent path to citizenship."