Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Law Allowing Police To Arrest Illegal Immigrants

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The Supreme Court allowed Texas’ law enabling local police to arrest illegal migrants to take effect Tuesday.

After extending a pause on the law multiple times, the Supreme Court allowed Texas’ SB 4 to take effect Tuesday, declining the Biden administration’s effort to halt it while litigation continues. The Department of Justice (DOJ) first filed its lawsuit against Texas to prevent enforcement of the law in January.

“The Court gives a green light to a law that will upend the longstanding federal-state balance of power and sow chaos, when the only court to consider the law concluded that it is likely unconstitutional,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissent joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. “This law implicates serious issues that are subject to ongoing political debate, and Texas’s novel scheme requires careful and reasoned consideration in the courts to determine which provisions may be unconstitutional.”

Justice Elena Kagan also wrote in a dissent that she would not have allowed the law to take effect.

U.S. District Court Judge David Alan Ezra, a Reagan appointee, blocked Texas’ law from taking effect in February, finding it “threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice.” The Fifth Circuit issued an administrative stay early March allowing the law to take effect while it considered the appeal, prompting the Biden administration to file an emergency application with the Supreme Court. (RELATED: Federal Judge Blocks Texas Law That Would Allow Law Enforcement To Arrest Illegal Migrants)

“So far as I know, this Court has never reviewed the decision of a court of appeals to enter—or not enter—an administrative stay,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in a concurrence joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “I would not get into the business.”

“Texas’s motion for a stay pending appeal was fully briefed in the Fifth Circuit by March 5, almost two weeks ago,” Barrett wrote. “Merits briefing on Texas’s challenge to the District Court’s injunction of S. B. 4 is currently underway. If a decision does not issue soon, the applicants may return to this Court.”

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