Appeals Court Ruling Puts Texas Immigration Law on Hold Once More

Appeals Court Ruling Puts Texas Immigration Law on Hold Once More

Late on Tuesday night, a federal appeals court halted the implementation of Texas’ contentious immigration law, only hours after the Supreme Court had given the state permission to start implementing it.

In a succinct opinion, a three-judge panel at the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to overturn an earlier decision from a separate panel that had temporarily enforced the law. This statute would permit state officials to detain and arrest anyone they believe are entering the nation unlawfully.

The judges who issued the order on Tuesday night are already scheduled to hear arguments on Texas’ plea to reinstate Senate Bill 4 while the state appeals a federal judge’s decision to ban the legislation on Wednesday morning.

Judge Andrew Oldham of the Circuit Court openly disagreed, stating that he would permit the law to be in place for the time being.

“I would leave that stay in place pending tomorrow’s oral argument on the question,” he stated.

The Supreme Court, which earlier on Tuesday allowed SB 4 to take effect after rejecting emergency petitions from the Biden administration and other parties, was involved in the legal wrangling over the bill.

Oral arguments over whether to block the statute while it evaluates the legal challenges to it were planned by the appeals court hours later. Virtual oral arguments were scheduled by the court for Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET.

Notwithstanding the outcome of the 5th Circuit’s proceedings on Wednesday, the appeals court will continue to hear arguments the following month over the constitutionality of the law and whether it ought to be permanently halted.

SB 4, which was signed into law by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in December, permits state judges to order the deportation of immigrants and makes it a criminal to enter Texas unlawfully.

Generally speaking, the federal government is in charge of immigration enforcement.

The state government was prevented from putting the law into effect by a federal judge in Austin, who ruled last month that it “could open the door to each state passing its own version of immigration laws.”

Concerns about the bill were also voiced by the three liberal justices on the Supreme Court, who dissented on Tuesday from the top court’s order allowing it to go into effect for a brief while.

The liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissenting with Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated that the action “invites further chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement.”

“Upending the federal-state balance of power that has existed for over a century, in which the National Government has had exclusive authority over entry and removal of noncitizens,” Sotomayor stated in her dissenting opinion in response to the measure.

There’s a chance the case will return to the Supreme Court shortly.