Appeals Court Reinstates Hold On Texas Immigration Law

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 20, 2024 - 04:11 PM

Authored by Caden Pearsen via The Epoch Times,

A federal appeals court issued an order late on Tuesday that reinstates a hold blocking Texas from enforcing a law that enables local law enforcement to arrest suspected illegal immigrants.

This decision came from a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, voting 2-1 to overturn a previous ruling made by another panel of the same court that granted an administrative stay of the law’s implementation.

The prior 5th Circuit ruling had temporarily halted an injunction from a federal district court judge in Austin, who had blocked Texas from implementing the law. The Austin judge’s rationale was that such a law might pave the way for other states to enact their own immigration legislation.

Following the Tuesday night order, the 5th Circuit will now hear arguments on whether to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal on Wednesday, according to the order.

“A majority of the panel has concluded that the administrative stay entered by a motions panel on March 2, 2024, should be lifted,” reads the unsigned order by the court.

Circuit Judge Andrew Oldham dissented from the majority opinion on Tuesday, advocating for the law to remain enforceable.

He wrote in his dissenting opinion, “I would leave that stay in place pending tomorrow’s oral argument on the question.”

This came hours after the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority rejected an emergency request from the Biden administration to review the administrative stay ordered by the 5th Circuit’s prior panel.

The Department of Justice argued that the law is a clear violation of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and that states do not have the power to enforce immigration laws. The law, it argued, would cause chaos in immigration law.

In a win for Texas, the Supreme Court issued an order earlier on Tuesday that effectively enabled the law, known as SB4, to be enforced while lower courts deliberated.

The Supreme Court did not provide any reasons for the decision in its order, as is typical in emergency appeals. The decision passed on to the appeals court, and they issued a ruling on Tuesday evening.

Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions.

Justice Barrett wrote that the high court has never “never reviewed the decision of a court of appeals to enter—or not enter—an administrative stay.”

She added that an administrative stay is meant to be a “short-lived prelude to the main event,” which is a ruling on the motion for a stay pending appeal.

Justice Barrett also opined that it is “unwise to invite emergency litigation in this Court about whether a court of appeals abused its discretion at this preliminary step.”

The Supreme Court’s three Democrat-appointed justices, Elena Kagan, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Sonia Sotomayor, raised concerns over the law in their dissenting opinions.

Justice Sotomayor said the order “invites further chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement.”

She also wrote that the law “upends the federal-state balance of power that has existed for over a century, in which the National Government has had exclusive authority over entry and removal of noncitizens.”

In December, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB4 into law after it was approved by the Republican-controlled state legislature.

SB4 allows local and state police to take into custody individuals who have entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico and imposes criminal penalties on them. The law also grants state judges the authority to order the deportation of illegal immigrants.

On Tuesday, Mexico’s government declared that it would not accept the return of illegal immigrants from Texas to its territory under any circumstances. Deportations of individuals who are not Mexican citizens are not required to be accepted by Mexico.