A federal appeals court has upheld a nationwide injunction halting the Trump administration’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, which has allowed early 700,000 people who were brought to the US illegally as children to stay in the country.

The decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of the United States to uphold the injunction brings the fate of the programme, referred to as DACA, one step closer to its day before the Supreme Court — and that review may be coming sooner than usual after the Trump administration petitioned this week for the court to consider the issue as soon as possible.

President Donald Trump has frequently criticised DACA, saying that it is an “amnesty-first approach” to immigration reforms, and that the US Congress should strike a deal to handle the nation’s myriad immigration issues.

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling is the first from a federal circuit court, and comes just one day after Attorney General Jeff Session announced his resignation from that post. Mr Sessions had announced that the DACA program would end gradually over six months.

In the court’s opinion on Thursday, the judges rejected arguments from the government that President Barack Obama had illegally introduced the programme in an act of executive overreach.

“DACA was a permissible exercise of executive discretion,” the judges wrote.

Mr Obama announced the creation of DACA in 2012, noting that the measure was meant to be a temporary fix for a problem that congress had repeatedly failed to fix.

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The programme allows people who were brought to the United States without American authorization to remain in the US temporarily, and to hold legal jobs.

But, the programme does have limitations, and everyone applying for the program was required to have a clean criminal record, and to have finished high school or received an equivalent degree.

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