Texas Immigration Law Won’t Take Effect Yet After Supreme Court Extends Pause

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The Supreme Court extended its pause Monday on a Texas law allowing local police to arrest migrants who enter the state illegally.

In a brief order, Justice Samuel Alito again extended an administrative stay preventing the law, SB 4, from taking effect after the pause was set to expire today. The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court in early March to block the law from taking effect while the lawsuit proceeds, writing that it could “create chaos in the United States’ efforts to administer federal immigration laws in Texas.” (RELATED: Federal Judge Blocks Texas Law That Would Allow Law Enforcement To Arrest Illegal Migrants)

The stay does not specify an expiration date and will continue until the full Court or Alito issues a new order.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law in December in response to record amounts of illegal crossings. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its lawsuit against Texas to prevent its enforcement in January.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals paused in February a district court judge’s ruling blocking the law from taking effect, prompting the application to the Supreme Court.

“By allowing Texas to remove noncitizens to Mexico without its consent, SB4 would have significant and immediate adverse effects on the United States’ relationship with Mexico — a relationship that is critical to the federal government’s ability to effectively address immigration at the southwest border,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in the government’s application earlier this month. “SB4 would harm the federal government’s relationship with other countries and prevent the United States from conducting assessments under treaties concerning removal to countries where the noncitizen may be persecuted or tortured.”

Texas argued in a recent filing with the Supreme Court that it is “the nation’s first-line defense against transnational violence and has been forced to deal with the deadly consequences of the federal government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the border.”

“Governor Abbott—acting as the ‘Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State’ of Texas, Tex. Const. art. IV, §4—has invoked Texas’s power to defend itself against transnational cartels engaged in terrorism, human trafficking, and fentanyl and weapons smuggling,” the filing stated.

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