Texas immigration law blocked again, just hours after the Supreme Court allowed the state to arrest immigrants

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By journalsofus.com

Hours later The Supreme Court gave Texas officials Allowed to jail and prosecute immigrants suspected of crossing the southern border of the United States without authorization, an appeals court late Tuesday blocked the state from enforcing its controversial immigration law known as SB4.

In a late-night order, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved a stay it had issued in early March to stay a lower court ruling that found SB4 unconstitutional.

Order restored a fail by U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra, who concluded in late February that SB4 conflicted with federal immigration laws and the Constitution.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied a request by the Justice Department to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s initial order that had halted Ezra’s ruling. The high court allowed SB4 to take effect for several hours, although it is unclear whether Texas arrested any migrants under the law during that short period of time.

Ezra’s order blocking SB4 will remain in effect until the Fifth Circuit rules on Texas’ request to allow the law to apply while the appeals court considers its legality. A virtual hearing on that issue is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Passed by the Texas legislature last year, SB4 criminalizes unauthorized migration at the state level, making the act of entering the United States outside of a port of entry (already a federal crime) a state crime. It also creates a state felony charge for illegal reentry.

SB4 empowers Texas law enforcement officials, at the state and local levels, to detain and prosecute migrants on these new criminal charges. It also gives state judges the power to require migrants to return to Mexico as an alternative to prosecution.

The Justice Department has said SB4 conflicts with federal law and the Constitution, noting that immigration law enforcement, including arrests and deportations, has long been a federal responsibility. He has also argued that the measure damages relations with the Mexican government, which has denounced SB4 as “anti-immigrant” and has promised to reject immigrants returned by the state of Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has positioned himself as the state’s leading critic of President Biden’s border policies, has presented SB4 as a necessary measure to deter migrants from crossing the Rio Grande, arguing that the federal government does not has done enough to deter illegal immigration.

Over the past three years, Texas has mounted the most aggressive state effort yet to challenge the federal government’s power over immigration policy, busing tens of thousands of immigrants to major Democratic-led cities, setting up wire of spikes and buoys along stretches of the border to deter migrant crossings and file multiple lawsuits against federal immigration programs.

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