Texas’ Migrant Arrest Law Is Back on Hold

(RepublicanReport.org) – A new law that just took effect in Texas is back on hold after an appeals court decided it was unconstitutional. State lawmakers passed the measure, which granted the state the power to arrest and deport illegal immigrants, back in November 2023. It took effect on March 19, after the US Supreme Court decided to let it stand temporarily while the federal case moved on, but the law was active for less than a day before a federal appeals court put it back on pause.

SB 4, Texas’ answer to its continued illegal immigrant problem, passed in the state’s Senate with a vote of 83 to 61 just days after passing in the House with a vote of 17 to 11. The law gave local authorities the right to arrest people who entered the United States by illegal means and prosecute them on the state level. A suspect who hadn’t committed any other offenses had the option to return freely to their country of origin, all charges dropped, but officials hoped the changes would give them better control over the problem and create a better deterrent to illegal crossers entering their state.

Legal challenges had the measure moving through the courts before it could take effect, leading to a hold on the law while the case continued through the system. The US Supreme Court removed that hold, determining local authorities could keep enforcing it until an official ruling came, but the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided only hours later that the previous decision should stand.

Texas leaders claim the law reflects the state’s constitutional right, under Article I, Section 10, to defend itself from invasion. The Department of Justice argues, along with immigration advocacy groups, that the authority to regulate immigration falls solely on the federal government. They allege the state laws would open the doors to unfair racial profiling. Texas officials say they have no choice but to intervene because the federal government has fallen short on the job.

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