Supreme Court allows Texas to begin enforcing controversial immigration law

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United States Supreme Court


The Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for Texas to immediately begin enforcing a controversial immigration law which allows state officials to arrest and detain people suspected of having entered the country illegally.

The court’s three liberals disagreed.

Legal challenges to the law are underway in a federal appeals court, but the decision hands a significant, if temporary, victory to Texas, which has been in an ongoing battle with the Biden administration over immigration policy.

The court had been blocking the law from taking effect, issuing an indefinite stay on Monday, which was overturned by Tuesday’s order.

Senate Bill 4, signed into law by Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in December, immediately raised concerns among immigration advocates about increased racial profiling, as well as detentions and attempted deportations by law enforcement. state elections in Texas, where Latinos represent 40% of the population.

As is often the case in emergency applications, the court did not explain its reasoning.

However, a concurring opinion written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, explained that the appeals court had only issued a temporary “administrative” order.

“To my knowledge, this court has never reviewed an appeals court’s decision to issue – or not to issue – an administrative stay,” Barrett wrote. “I wouldn’t get into the business. When introduced, an administrative stay is supposed to be a short-lived prelude to the main event: a ruling on the stay motion pending appeal.”

Barrett said she thought it was “unwise to invite emergency litigation in this court over whether an appeals court abused its discretion in this preliminary step.”

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the order “invites more chaos and crisis in immigration law enforcement.”

The law, Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, “upends the federal-state balance of power that has existed for more than a century, in which the National Government has had exclusive authority over the entry and expulsion of noncitizens.”

“Texas can now immediately enforce its own law that imposes criminal liability on thousands of noncitizens and requires their removal to Mexico,” Sotomayor wrote. “This law will disrupt delicate foreign relations, thwart the protection of people fleeing persecution, hamper federal law enforcement efforts, undermine the ability of federal agencies to detect and monitor imminent security threats, and deter non-citizens to report abuse or trafficking.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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