“This is just another case of judicial activism. The Supreme Court ruled as recently as this year that the president has broad powers to limit who can come into this country when they upheld his executive order on travel restrictions,” said Ira Mehlman, the media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization that seeks reductions in immigration.

“You continue to have judges who just believe they can put a stick in the spokes here,” he added. “That really has been the strategy all along, since the start of the administration.”

Advocates for more liberal immigration laws see things in an entirely different way, asserting that the administration is seeking to act by fiat and the courts are providing a crucial check on its powers.

“We weren’t surprised by the ruling,” said Frank Sharry, the founder and executive director of America’s Voice, a group that favors liberal reforms of the immigration system. “The asylum ban that the administration ordered was clearly illegal.”