Appeals Court Pumps The Brakes On Law Allowing Arrest Of Illegal Migrants Hours After Supreme Court Greenlights It

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Jake Smith Contributor
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A circuit appeals court halted Texas’ border enforcement laws on Tuesday the same day they were allowed to proceed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Texas to enforce Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), which allows law enforcement officers in the state to arrest illegal immigrants. A fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted Texas’ ability to enforce SB 4 just hours after the Supreme Court approved its extension. (RELATED: Texas Immigration Law Won’t Take Effect Yet After Supreme Court Extends Pause)

The Supreme Court allowed Texas to enforce SB 4 and gave back the legal decision to the lower appeals court. Three justices — Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson — dissented the decision.

“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,” Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in their dissent.

The appeals court’s pause comes ahead of oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday; it isn’t clear when the next legal decision could come, according to The Associated Press.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and state officials had initially celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We still have to have hearings in the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals,” Abbott said on Tuesday. “But this is clearly a positive development.”

SB 4 would allow Texas law enforcement to detain illegal migrants coming into the state and deport them out of the country. Detained individuals could face sentences of up to six months in jail and up to 10- and 20-year sentences for subsequent offenses.

The law does not require the consent of Mexico to deport migrants back to the country. Mexico’s government said on Tuesday that it would not allow migrants to be sent back and slammed SB 4 for “encouraging the separation of families, discrimination and racial profiling that violate the human rights of the migrant community,” according to The New York Times.

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