Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Texas Illegal Immigration Law

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024 - 10:00 PM

Authored by Caden Pearson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Supreme Court imposed a temporary pause on the enforcement of Texas’s immigration law on Monday, which would have granted state law enforcement powers to arrest and detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally.

National Guard soldiers stand guard on the banks of the Rio Grande river at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Jan. 12, 2024. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Justice Samuel Alito, who oversees the federal circuit handling the case, issued an administrative stay, effectively postponing the implementation of SB4 until March 13. This temporary pause allows the Supreme Court additional time to review the case but does not provide a clear indication of the court’s ultimate stance.

The Biden administration filed an emergency application on Monday, urging the Supreme Court to prevent Texas from enforcing the law. SB4 will allow state law enforcement officials to prosecute and arrest illegal immigrants who recently crossed the border.

Under the Texas law, it would become a state crime to illegally enter or reenter Texas from a foreign country. State and local law enforcement would gain the authority to arrest and prosecute violators, and state judges could order individuals to leave the country, with potential prison sentences of up to 20 years for those who don’t comply.

The law would have gone into effect on Tuesday without the high court’s intervention.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra temporarily blocked Texas state officials from enforcing SB4, responding to a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Judge Ezra, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, rejected the Lone Star state’s argument that it could enforce its border in the face of an “invasion” by illegal immigrants.

“I haven’t seen, and the state of Texas can’t point me to any type of military invasion in Texas. I don’t see evidence that Texas is at war,” Judge Ezra wrote.

Immigration arrests and deportations are federal responsibilities, and the Texas law would interfere, according to the March 1 ruling.

Judge Ezra found that should Texas prevail in its challenge, the federal government would “suffer grave irreparable harm,” as it might mean the “nullification of federal law and authority” and inspire other states to pursue similar laws. It could mean that states might be able to “permanently supersede federal directives.”

“SB4 threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice,” he wrote.

The judge also ruled that the Biden administration was likely to prevail in its challenge and that the law contravenes the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.

Judge Ezra noted that this is a “notion that is antithetical to the Constitution and has been unequivocally rejected by federal courts since the Civil War.”

However, over the weekend, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals suspended Judge Ezra’s order on administrative grounds at Texas’s request, pending the merits of an appeal. The appeals court stayed its decision for seven days to give the federal government a chance to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Justice Alito, responding to the DOJ’s plea, paused the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ order until March 13, granting Texas until the end of next Monday to present its case (pdf).

If the Supreme Court ultimately sides with Texas, SB4 could take effect on March 13 at 5 p.m. ET.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who signed SB4 into law in December, contends that the legislation is necessary to reduce illegal migrant crossings. He accuses the Biden administration of failing to address illegal immigration concerns.

After the high court issued its order, Mr. Abbott posted a video on X (formerly Twitter) showing new border wall construction underway.

“Texas continues to add more border wall in Cameron County. We will use every tool and strategy to secure our border until President Biden fulfills his constitutional duty to enforce federal immigration laws already on the books,” Mr. Abbott wrote in the post.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.