Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a clear message to President Barack Obama after a federal appeals court ruled Monday that his plan to use protect approximately 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation though executive order was illegal.

AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

Praising the 2-1 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Abbott said Obama should now enforce the laws on the books.

“The court’s decision is a vindication for the rule of law and the Constitution,” Abbott said in a statement. “The president’s job is to enforce the immigration laws, not rewrite them. President Obama should abandon his lawless executive amnesty program and start enforcing the law today.”

On Twitter, Abbott also reacted to the ruling, writing, “The lawsuit I filed to stop Obama’s illegal amnesty executive Order won in the Federal Court of Appeals.”

Republicans had criticized the plan as an illegal executive overreach when Obama announced it last November. Twenty-six states challenged the plan in court.

The administration argued that the executive branch was within its rights in deciding to defer deportation of selected groups of immigrants, including children who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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