Texas immigration law SB4 takes effect, split in Supreme Court ruling

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upended a key element of U.S. border policy, clearing the way for Texas to begin arresting and deporting immigrants who enter the state illegally, even though a law enforcement role has historically been part of the federal government’s responsibilities. Control of international borders.

In a divided preliminary order, the court’s conservative majority allowed the law to take effect temporarily while challenges to the law continue in the court system. Two justices in the majority said the Supreme Court may again consider intervening after a lower court decides whether Texas can continue to temporarily enforce the statute. Their announcement appeared to be effective immediately, with lower courts quickly scheduling a hearing on the issue for Wednesday morning.

this The law known as SB 4 makes it a state crime for immigrants to illegally cross the border and allows Texas officials to deport undocumented individuals, though Mexico said on Tuesday it would not accept anyone deported from the state, denouncing the law as “encouraging family separations, discrimination and racial profiling and violating the human rights of immigrant communities.”

The legislation passed last year amid record numbers of border crossings and was part of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s push to expand the state’s role in immigration enforcement.

supreme court Decide It drew dissent from three liberal justices, two of whom said the majority was inviting “further chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement.”

“This law would disrupt sensitive diplomatic relations, hinder the protection of individuals fleeing persecution, impede aggressive federal law enforcement efforts, and undermine the ability of federal agencies to detect and monitor imminent security threats,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote. ability, and to prevent noncitizens from reporting abuse or trafficking.” , joined by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton High Court order On Tuesday, it was a “huge victory” and said the state law “is now in effect.”

The measure imposes state criminal penalties of up to six months in prison for noncitizens who illegally enter Texas from Mexico. Anyone accused of illegally re-entering the country could face felony charges and 10 to 20 years in prison. Lawmakers also empowered state judges to order deportations to Mexico without Mexican consent and allowed local law enforcement officers to enforce those orders. A judge may drop state charges if the immigrant agrees to voluntarily return to Mexico.

The lawsuit against state law is The latest court battle between the Biden administration and Republican leaders Debate has raged in Texas over the appropriate role of states in immigration enforcement, with Republicans highlighting it as a key issue in the 2024 presidential campaign.In January, a divided Supreme Court said the Biden administration could eliminate Texas is installing razor wire along the U.S.-Mexico border until a court determines whether the state’s own barriers are legal.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the administration fundamentally disagrees with allowing Texas to enforce a “harmful and unconstitutional law” that “will not only make Texas communities less safe , and will also burden law enforcement and cause chaos and confusion.” Chaos at our southern border. “

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that the court’s decision to allow the law to take effect “could plunge immigration enforcement into chaos” and that federal authorities would not cooperate with the state.

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Department of Homeland Security spokesman Luis Miranda said the department’s agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, do not have the authority to assist Texas in implementing SB 4. He said the only deportations the Department of Homeland Security can enforce involve federal orders.

“Immigration is within the exclusive purview of the federal government,” Miranda said.

The potential impact of SB 4 on crossings overall remains to be seen. Abbott and other Texas officials have claimed in recent months that their state-led crackdown, Operation Lone Star, has prompted migrants and smugglers to change their travel plans and head to Arizona or California instead of Det. Saskatchewan. The southern Arizona and San Diego areas are currently two of the busiest areas for illegal crossings on the Mexican border, according to the latest U.S. law enforcement data.

Along the Rio Grande, Abbott deployed Texas State Police and set up razor wire Basically quiet in recent monthsData shows illegal crossings remain relatively low in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, which tends to be the primary gateway for illegal crossings at the southern border.

district court judge Temporarily blocked last month The Texas law said the regulation could be unconstitutional and “could open the door for each state to pass its own version of immigration law.” Judge David A. Ezra said the law interferes with federal matters even more than Arizona’s immigration law, which the Supreme Court has ruled on. Partially defeated in 2012.

But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals quickly halted Ezra’s ruling without explanation and said the law could be struck down. Unless the Supreme Court intervenes, it will be enforced, at least temporarily.The Biden administration, El Paso County and immigrant advocacy groups all filed lawsuits to block the law, then Ask the Supreme Court It was stayed while the proceedings continued.

As is customary in emergency matters, the majority of the justices—Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr. A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — did not explain Tuesday why they would allow the law to go into effect. Now. But Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh said that until the 5th Circuit decides whether to keep the law in effect pending appeals, It’s too early for judges to get involved. They urged the 5th Circuit to act quickly.

The court responded by scheduling a hearing for Wednesday, which will be hosted via Zoom.

“If a decision is not made soon, the applicant may return to court,” Barrett wrote in the consent form.

In addition to questions about the law’s immediate status, the Fifth Circuit is scheduled to hold oral arguments on April 3 to consider its constitutionality.

Liberal justices on Tuesday pushed back against the majority’s reasoning, saying the Fifth Circuit indefinitely upended the status quo by ending the lower court’s injunction. Sotomayor joined Jackson in a 10-page dissent that described the one-line procedural order as an “abuse of discretion.”

“This court made the same mistake,” Sotomayor wrote, “by allowing a temporary administrative stay to alter a status quo that has existed for more than a century.”

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Judge Elena Kagan wrote briefly separately that she would also block the Texas law from taking effect, noting that the entry and exit of immigrants and non-citizens “has long been considered a peculiarity of the federal government.” Jurisdictional Issues”.

In response to the court order, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the “more than 10 million people of Mexican origin” living in Texas and said the law created a hostile environment for immigrants. The country has been a key partner in the Biden administration’s immigration management strategy, and U.S. authorities say a decline in illegal border crossings over the past two months is partly due to tougher measures by Mexico.

Jorge Dominguez, a staff attorney at the El Paso-based Inter-American Immigration Advocacy Center, one of the groups challenging the law, said the Supreme Court order is a punch that will affect more than just Texas. Immigration to the state also affects any state residents of color. Dominguez said his center’s clients, most of whom are immigrants in various legal proceedings, have said they would go into hiding and limit their presence in the community if the law went into effect.

“Am I going to be detained because I’m brown, speak fluent Spanish, and look like someone who came into Texas illegally?” Dominguez, a U.S. citizen, mused. explain. “This law essentially makes people like me vulnerable to any law enforcement officer in the state who wants to play a ‘guess the immigration’ game.”

Ricardo Samaniego, El Paso County’s top elected official, said he spoke with county officials and U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D) on Tuesday about the Supreme Court ruling , Escobar has been a sharp critic of Texas’ new law. “The nightmare has become a reality,” Samaniego said. “This happened and it’s something we’ve been worried about for some time.”

Law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Houston Police Department, say the law threatens their relationships with immigrant communities and could prevent people from calling 911 in emergencies because they fear they could face arrest based on their immigration status. For months, community groups have been holding workshops for residents about their constitutional right to remain silent, the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, and what to do if arrested.

Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar urged the high court to block the law, which she said “prevents the nation from speaking ‘with one voice’ on matters involving foreign affairs,” and Violating federal responsibilities imposed by Congress. She said enacting the bill could escalate tensions with Mexico and lead to the deportation of immigrants whose lives are at risk, in violation of federal law.

Texas defended its law in part by invoking limited state war powers, suggesting that the influx of immigrants resembled an imminent danger of invasion. A clause in the Constitution generally prohibits states from participating in war, but includes an exception if a state is “actually invaded, or is in imminent danger without delay.”

A district court judge rejected that argument in February, writing that “a surge in unauthorized immigration alone is not sufficient to constitute an ‘invasion.'”

Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti contributed to this report.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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